The whole world is watching – VG

The Floyd Trial: The whole world is watching

A man holds up a poster in which he demands justice for the late George Floyd a few days after the murder in Minneapolis in May last year. Photo: Thomas Nilsson / VG

The whole world is witnessing the trial of the police officer who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis in May last year.

Published:Less than 10 minutes ago

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“The whole world is watching!” The Vietnam protesters in Chicago shouted outside the Democrats’ national convention in 1968, when the city’s mayor had summoned the National Guard to have them removed, and the soldiers attacked unarmed hippies and students with batons and tear gas.

The riots were just one of many that haunted the world’s major cities this turbulent year. Mexico City, Paris, Prague all experienced that initially peaceful demonstrations were brutally crushed. But no one understood the value of media attention to the same degree as the American protesters.

They were the first generation in the world to grow up with television from childhood. The Yippie movement, which was central to the celebrations in Chicago, went to war against the authorities under the motto: The revolution will be broadcast. And the slogan was that one should be beaten by police and soldiers in front of the cameras in order to be able to humiliate the authorities in world opinion in the next round.

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For the whole world saw, and the whole world is still watching, the United States. The nation’s leadership role both as a democratic superpower and media technology pioneering culture means that they have had our almost full attention since World War II. For better or worse, they have exposed their strengths and weaknesses, stood up to criticism and admiration, and influenced how we resolve conflicts and challenges in the rest of the world as well.

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The trial against former police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with the premeditated murder of George Floyd on May 25 last year, began this week. The whole world has seen the videos where Floyd repeatedly hiccups that he is not allowed to breathe, while Chauvin continues to press his knee against his neck.

The assassination set a new furious energy in the Black Life Matters movement. There were demonstrations and riots across the United States. And the assassination engaged many liberal and not least African-American voters to go to the polls in November to elect Joe Biden with the largest number of votes ever cast in a US presidential election.

But the demonstrations and riots also had the opposite effect. Incumbent President Trump pointed to the Black Life Matters movement as a threat to life and property in the United States. And appealed to the needs of many, especially white Americans, for law and order.

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The US legal system has a formidable challenge in dealing with this specific case. Derek Chauvin is entitled to a trial where all evidence must be on the table, not just what can be recorded in the eight minutes and forty-six seconds captured on video.

At the same time, the courts have a long and gruesome history of acquitting white police officers of the murder of black citizens. With new riots as a result. There is a huge responsibility and pressure on the courtroom in Minneapolis.

And the whole world is watching. Again.

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