On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after a deli employee called 911, accusing him of buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, Mr. Floyd was pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life. This sparked Black Lives Matter protests across America and the globe. Carlow’s People Before Profit councillor Adrienne Wallace has called for a minutes silence ahead of Carlow county councils meeting this Monday.
Speaking ahead of it Cllr Wallace said “The murder of George Floyd in broad daylight in Minneapolis shows the shocking racism at the heart of US society. George Floyd was pinned to the ground while a white police officer pushed his knee into his neck. It lasted seven minutes and even though George was shouting ‘I cannot breathe’ and ‘I am about to die’, a public murder proceeded. America has a long and brutal history of racism but US President, Donald Trump, as an open inciter of racist violence, has heightened things. He has denounced Black Lives Matter protesters as ‘thugs’ but when the far-right rallied in Charlottesville and ran a car into a crowd he said they were ‘very fine people’. Carlow is a small county in Ireland but we want to send our solidarity to all those experiencing racism and organising to fight against it in whatever way we can.”
She added “This should be a wake up call to the Irish state and their racist direct provision policy. Forcing asylum seekers into small, cramped living conditions with 3 or more sharing a room is not acceptable. There have been reports of residents forced to beg for food inside these for-profit centres. In some reports the heating had been turned off or water was running through light fixtures indicating that many are clearly not fit for purpose. The state is not offering supports to people seeking asylum they are practically imprisoning them. As we look abroad and condemn racism, we should also look at the Irish government and call on them to abolish direct provision.”