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Belgium

“Black Lives Matter” and police killings

Wednesday 3 June 2020, by Axel Farkas

On 25 May 2020 in Minneapolis, United States, a police officer killed Georges Floyd by kneeling on his neck for seven minutes. The latter had warned that he was no longer able to breathe. The policeman, Derek Chauvin was therefore perfectly aware of what he was doing. If, today, this policeman has been dismissed and is being prosecuted for “manslaughter” this is far from enough. Residents of Minneapolis and other cities across the country are not fooled. By calling the killing of someone who warns they are having trouble breathing “involuntary”, US justice is already trying to minimize the facts.

The anger and rioting in recent days in the United States are only the result of an institutional racism which is expressed daily through police violence, insecurity and social misery towards racialized people. Black people are also the main victims of Covid-19 in the USA. Trump’s calls for the police to shoot the rioters are just another provocation and the demonstration that the police are indeed the state’s private militia. This Sunday, 31 May, the US President tweeted that he now characterised the “Antifa” organisations as “terrorist” because they support the movements in struggle. There is therefore no support for the demands of justice but a desire to silence the dispute.

International solidarity

This video showing the arrest and murder of George Floyd, has gone around the world and has aroused much indignation. It is important to be indignant and show our international solidarity with the victims of police violence in Belgium by organizing rallies or by showing our support on social networks.

This international outrage is encouraging and necessary for American activists, but it is not enough. It’s not just in the USA. All over the world the police are at the service of the state, the ruling power and the ruling classes. They impose and reproduce capitalist, racist, sexist, LGBT-phobic policies. It is by fighting where we are that we can strengthen the fight against these institutions which are, moreover, never really accountable to the population.

Belgian police also kill

In Belgium too, the police have killed many times. The most significant recent cases are those of Mawda , Mehdi and Adil. Here too, the justice system tried to minimize the facts, or worse, to place responsibility on the victims. Here also legitimate anger was expressed through riots (which were strongly criticized in the media and by political leaders). Here too, justice regularly clears violent police officers. Here too the situation is getting worse and social insecurity is worsening.

We are not saying that the situation is exactly the same. We are well aware of the historical and institutional differences that distinguish our societies, as well as the extent of the lethal violence of the US police towards racialized people in general and African-Americans in particular but we observe the same mechanisms at work. These mechanisms are part of the same repressive system serving the ruling classes.

This is why we think it is necessary to come together, finally, collectively with all the victims of police violence and all the organizations (or individuals) who wish to put an end to this police impunity for:

- disarmament of the police;

- an independent and citizen-based police control commission: The police must be accountable to the population, not to the government in power;

- maintenance of the right to film police action in all cases;

- the end of police impunity and justice which is 100% free of charge for all.

1 June 2020

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