Divided Independence Day in DC

Source:AFP Published: 2020/7/5 15:58:40

BLM and Trump’s supporters engage in shouting matches on July 4

US Army parachuters carrying a US National flag descend on the Ellipse during the 2020 "Salute to America" event in honor of Independence Day on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington DC on Saturday. Photo: AFP

Demonstrators chanting "Black Lives Matter" exchange words with activists waving pro-Trump signs outside a fortified White House: America's Independence Day was marked in Washington DC on Saturday by confrontation and disunity. 

As it struggles to contain the coronavirus and reckons with waves of protesters demanding racial justice, the US is deeply polarized, with the gulf seemingly insurmountable on a day usually marking patriotism and unity.

The one thing people outside the White House - surrounded by an imposing police cordon - and on the nearby National Mall seemed to be able to agree on was that this was not where they wanted America to be.

"We should be celebrating our unity, diversity, liberty, we shouldn't be looking at each other as enemies ready to go to war," pro-Trump transgender activist Kristy Pandora Greczowski told AFP. 

Americans have long been divided between liberal and conservative values.

But the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic has caused deep fear and anxiety.

Then, in May, an African-American man called George Floyd was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, igniting waves of protest.

Since then the US has begun a historic soul-searching as it reckons with its racist past, modern racial injustices - including those further illuminated by the impact of the virus - and police brutality.

Trump, far from advocating national reconciliation, has stoked divisions. 

"We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children or trample on our freedoms," he told the crowd on the White House lawn later Saturday evening.


Posted in: AMERICAS

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