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UN Chief Urges Peaceful Protests, Calls on Authorities to Show Restraint

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres tweeted that he was “heartbroken” over the recent violence in the United States, going on to say that “grievances must be heard, but should be expressed peacefully.

Photo by IAEA Imagebank/Flickr

Cities across the U.S. have been rocked by swelling protests after the death of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police on May 25. While most of the protests have been peaceful, there have been instances of rioting and even looting, usually late at night. New York City, where the United Nations is headquartered, has been no exception. To stymie the violence, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio placed a curfew on the city, which will run through the morning of June 8.

I am heartbroken to see violence on the streets in our host country and our host city of New York. Grievances must be heard, but should be expressed peacefully - and authorities must show restraint in responding to demonstrations.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) June 2, 2020

But Secretary-General Guterres’ message was not just for the people taking to the street. He also called on authorities to show “restraint in responding to demonstrations.” His message was also reiterated by his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric, who told reporters that “Grievances must be heard, but they must be expressed... in peaceful ways, and authorities must show restraint in responding to demonstrators.”

Photo by Aelin Elliott/Flickr

Other United Nations leaders have also spoken out about the protests. In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said, “the voices calling for an end to the killings of unarmed African Americans need to be heard.”

But listening is not enough. Bachelet went on to say that those in charge must “reflect on what has driven people to boiling point; to listen and learn; and to take actions that truly tackle inequalities.”

After more violent incidents over the weekend, New York City and other cities saw more peaceful protests on Wednesday, June 3.

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