Pope Francis has today broken his silence over the death of George Floyd, praying for all those killed by the ‘sin of racism’ and condemning ‘self-defeating’ violent protests across the US.
The pontiff said ‘we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism’ as he dedicated the entire English-language section of his weekly audience to the situation in America.
But he also condemned the violence that followed Floyd’s death in the city of Minneapolis last week as ‘self-destructive and self-defeating’.
‘Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost,’ Francis added, before calling for national reconciliation and peace.
Floyd, 46, an unarmed black man, suffocated as a white police officer knelt on his neck, sparking widespread demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality.
Pope Francis called Floyd’s death tragic, and said he was praying for him and all those who had been killed as a result of the ‘sin of racism’.
‘Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr George Floyd,’ the pope said during a video broadcast on June 3 from the Vatican.
‘Today I join the Church of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and of all the United States, in praying for the rest of the soul of George Floyd and all the others who have lost their lives because of the sin of racism.
‘Let us pray for the comfort of families and friends who are heartbroken, and pray for national reconciliation and the peace we yearn for.’
Cities across the U.S. have witnessed days of protests in the wake of Floyd’s death.
In a video captured on May 25 – memorial day in the U.S. – Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, leading to his death.
Chauvin has since been fired and charged with murder and manslaughter, but anger over the incident has continued, with the protests showing no sign of abating.
However, many have turned violent, with some people looting shops, while police have been seen used heavy-handed tactics in an attempt to get the protests under control, such as deploying tear gas, rubber bullets and batons.
At least eleven people are believed to have died in the protests as of Monday.
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Source: Daily Mail