Protest, Protest, Protest


Not a month goes by this year where protests do not happen.

Currently, as this article is being written and released, protests against the killing of George Floyd, who was killed when a police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have expanded past the scope of the United States and onto the rest of the world.

Before we delve into that story, we must reflect on previous protests the world has seen.

In April, people strongly opposed stay-at-home orders and took to the streets to protest. But that did not last long, and was strongly condemned by many people.

A couple weeks ago Hong Kong saw a resurgence in protests as China threatened a new security law that would further strengthen mainland China’s grip on the territory. Protests in Hong Kong started and lasted all throughout 2019 and have extended into 2020, fighting to preserve their democracy from being eradicated by China.

Protests have fired back hard, and what the US is seeing today is a mirror of what happened in Hong Kong. Hong Kong citizens, due to their organized planning and communication, were able to fight back against police and officials trying to silence and suppress them.

Unfortunately, their efforts did not meet the end that they sought. China was able to impose a security law on Hong Kong, disappointing the thousands of protesters who had given months of their lives toward fighting for their independence. Not only that, but the annual Tiananmen Square vigil held in Hong Kong are being forced to be canceled, and the country braces for another wave of protests against the prohibition of the vigil.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledges that he will admit 3 million people from Hong Kong into the UK for those who are fearing their life are under threat by China and their new security laws. Johnson wrote in a statement in The Times of London on June 3 that “If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead we will honor our obligations and provide an alternative.” 

Comparatively, the way the U.S. government viewed the protests in Hong Kong greatly differs the way the U.S. views protests in their own country.

That brings this story to it’s next element.

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed by David Chauvin, a police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, and when the police officer finally released him, Floyd showed no signs of life. The three other officers did not try to stop him. It wasn’t until a few days after Floyd’s death where all four officers were acquitted and Chauvin was charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.

Protests erupted in outrage. Outrage for Floyd’s death, outrage over the time it took for the policemen to be arrested and charged, and outrage over the numerous times the killing of unarmed black people by police officers were ignored. Outrage, specifically, that police officers are able to get away with murder without prosecution from the law.

Those who are protesting are doing so not only in Floyd’s name but in the names of the countless other black lives who have been lost to police brutality.

To the dismay of many, news stations have decided to report heavily on the looting and the rioting that has occurred nationwide, which gives viewers who are not on social media the impression that much more protesters are violent than peaceful. Not only that, but many Americans are outraged at President Trump’s failure to lead the country.

The Chinese foreign ministry fired back at the U.S. Government and their officials, accusing Trump and the US of double standards. 

Why does the U.S. beautify the so-called Hong Kong independence and violent elements as heroes and fighters while it calls its own people protesting against racial discrimination ‘rioters’?” said ministry spokeswoman Zhao Lijian.

All fifty states in the U.S. have seen protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, with surprising appearances by the Amish in Minneapolis. Not only has the U.S. seen protests erupt all across the nation, but protests have arisen internationally with support from people in other countries protesting in solidarity.

Hundreds or thousands break stay-at-home orders in Germany, France, the U.K., Japan, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Kenya, and Canada. Mexico, Syria, Poland, Ireland and Italy have also demonstrated their support for George Floyd and the American protesters.

On a more local scale, on Friday June 5, Lake Oswego saw its own Black Lives Matter rally at Millennium Plaza in support of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Protests have continued for nearly two weeks in the U.S. and have been relentless with no clear end in sight. And as they continue, the eyes of the world will watch as the U.S. erupts into chaos.