Thousands of blacks gathered Saturday in Washington near the Capitol, seat of the US Congress, to demand justice when a series of police killings has rekindled racial tensions.
This gathering of men, women and children came from all over the United States is organized on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the “Million Man March” to which only men took part and which was intended to challenge in 1995 the public and elected officials on the socio-economic inequalities hitting black Americans.
Nation of Islam is the main organization of the march. Led by Louis Farrakhan and composed exclusively of black men, it is controversial, considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center following the US this type of movement.
“This is not a step, but a gathering of those who seek justice,” commented Louis Farrakhan near the steps of the Capitol before a rather festive crowd clustered on the Mall, a large plaza in the heart of Washington where located Capitol.
“There must come a time when we say” enough is enough “, it must change and we must be prepared to do whatever needs to be done for that to change,” he added.
“If we refuse is precisely what we have, then you need unified action to force the justice that we seek”, further hammered black leader.
“It was twenty years ago, the death of Tamir Rice (12 years) would go unnoticed, leaving the police lie without the world to know the truth,” also said before him one of the organizers of this gathering, Tamika Mallory, listing all black youth killed by police in recent years, as Michael Brown Ferguson or Eric Garner in New York.
These tragic news items inspired a national protest movement under the banner “Black Lives Matter” (the lives of blacks count), very present Saturday in Washington.
“I’m here because black lives count and without justice there can not be peace (…) and I do not want to lose my son in the street,” said AFP Mike Hinton, quarantine come Annapolis in Maryland about fifty km from Washington.
Robert Cox, 50, a fire captain in Boston (Massachusetts, north-east), says coming “because he spends a lot of serious things that people at the top do not seem to understand well,” stressing “that no human being should be marginalized or being discriminated against. ”
Before becoming the first black president of the United States, Barack Obama had participated in 1995 in the “Million Man March” when he was a senator from Illinois.
According to various estimates, from 400,000 to nearly a million people participated in the march.
Since the last twenty years, the socio-economic conditions of blacks did not really improve if we believe in the official employment figures: the unemployment rate for black men was 8.9% in September 2015, against 8.1% in October 1995.
According to the FBI quoted by the media, the number of blacks arrested by the police, however, decreased with 2.5 million in 2013 against 3.5 million in total in 1994, 28% of all arrests against 30.9%.