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UN appeals for restraint, ‘social cohesion’ as protests across the US continue

UN appeals for restraint, ‘social cohesion’ as protests across the US continue

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 03 Jun 2020, 02:38 am

Mumbai/IBNS: Responding to on-going protests that have spawned violence on all sides across dozens of US cities, the UN Spokesperson on Monday reiterated the Secretary-General’s appeal for grievances to be heard in “peaceful ways”, met with restraint by police and security forces.

Outrage began after video footage went viral on social media early last week, showing a white officer in the city of Minneapolis kneeling on the neck of 46-year-old African-American George Floyd for more than eight minutes, during which he appeared to become lifeless, dying in police custody.

Tens of thousands have taken to the streets during mainly peaceful protests, but violence by some demonstrators aimed at the police has also seen widespread looting, and increasingly violent policing tactics employed across multiple US cities.

“The situation we're seeing today we've seen in different parts of the world before”, Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters, adding that UN chief António Guterres’s message has been consistent: “Grievances must be heard, but they must be expressed... in peaceful ways, and authorities must show restraint in responding to demonstrators”.

As in any country in the world, “diversity is a richness and not a threat, but the success of diverse societies in any country requires a massive investment in social cohesion”, the spokesperson said, responding to questions from correspondents at the regular daily briefing, and pointing to “reducing inequalities, addressing possible areas of discrimination, strengthening social protection, [and] providing opportunities for all”.

“These efforts, these investments need to mobilize national governments…local authorities, the private sector, civil society, faith based organizations…society as a whole”, he said.

And in cases of instances of police violence, Mr. Dujarric reiterated the UN’s stance, calling for thorough investigations.

“We've always said that police forces around the world need to have adequate human rights training, and there also needs to be an investment in social and psychological support for police so they can do their job properly in terms of protecting the community”, the UN Spokesperson said.

Violent outbursts

The killing of Mr. Floyd has rocked Minneapolis and other cities across the country, with mostly peaceful daytime demonstrations turning violent as night fell, with many curfews being imposed, and largely ignored.

Throughout the weekend, reports reverberated of shootings, lootings and vandalism in a host of American cities, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, riot police fired tear gas and pepper bullets to try to disperse crowds and according to news reports, at least 4,400 people have been arrested.

By some accounts, the country is experiencing the most widespread racial turbulence and civil unrest since civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King, was assassinated in 1968.

Protest-connected outbreak

Although only days ago the COVID-19 pandemic had led to weeks of largely empty streets across the country, march routes in many cities have seen demonstrators ignoring physical-distancing, marching shoulder to shoulder, despite the risk of further transmission.

Speaking at a regular World Health Organization (WHO) press conference, infectious disease epidemiologist, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, said that physical distancing remains a “very important aspect” to control and suppress transmission.

“This is not over yet and we need to ensure that any locations that are considering these mass gathering events”, have “systems in place to prevent and detect and respond to any such cases”, she spelled out.

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm