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ANC urges Ramaphosa to engage US govt amid protests over Floyd’s killing

The 46-year-old unarmed black man was killed on camera last week after being arrested by police in Minneapolis.

People take part in a protest over the police killing of George Floyd in the USA, on 1 June 2020 in Barcelona. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) on Monday called for calm amid widespread protests across the United States against police brutality following the killing of George Floyd.

The 46-year-old unarmed black man was killed on camera last week after being arrested by police in Minneapolis.

In the video footage of his final moments, Floyd could be heard repeatedly saying that he could not breathe while calling out for his mother.

He died after being pinned under the knee of policeman Derek Chauvin for close to nine minutes.

Following widespread outrage, Chauvin is now facing a third-degree murder charge.

People around the world have come out in solidarity with black Americans who are marginalised and in memory of those killed at the hands of those supposed to uphold law and order.

In South Africa, the hashtag “black lives matter” was also used to protest against racism, with some questioning whether apartheid really ended.

South African comedian and host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah weighed in on Floyd’s murder.

“Some members of that society, mainly black Americans people, watch time and time again how the contract that they’ve signed with society is not being honoured by the society that has forced them to sign it,” Noah said.

“When you see George Floyd on the ground and you see a man losing his life, what part of the contract is that?” he added.

The ANC said it was concerned that violence against black Americans was on the rise. The governing party called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene and encourage the US government to defuse racial tensions.

“While we note the action taken by American authorities in charging one of the officers who was caught on camera kneeling on an unarmed Floyd, it is equally concerning that incidents of police brutality against African American citizens are on the increase.

“The cascade of recent cases - Ahmaud Arbery, black person jogging, Breonna Taylor, black person sleeping, and Floyd, black person encountering police - has sharpened the focus on inescapable realities that American society places a perilously low value on black lives,” the ANC said.

Memorial services are expected to be held for Floyd on Thursday and Saturday, while his funeral will take place next week Tuesday.