Right to Peaceful Protest Must Be Upheld
After being contacted by hundreds of Stirling residents, Alyn Smith, MP for Stirling and Shadow SNP Foreign Secretary has voiced his own support for the anti-racism Black Lives Matter movement, and has written to UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab calling on the UK government to urgently address escalating events in the United States of America.
The move follows a weekend of largely peaceful demonstrations which were marred by some violent incidents, with protestors and journalists subject to brutal security-force crackdowns in several US cities.
US President Donald Trump was roundly condemned by the international community for continued escalatory statements and rhetoric. Calling for US Governors to meet protestors with overwhelming force, the US President lambasted the largely peaceful majority as on the same level as violent looters and arsonists.
Sparked by the death of George Floyd, a 46 year-old black man who suffocated and died whilst a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck, widespread protests have spread across the US and in major cities worldwide.
Alyn Smith said:
‘The death of George Floyd has shocked America, and the world. Hundreds of folk across Stirling have contacted me to speak up on their behalf.
‘I, alongside all my SNP colleagues in Westminster and Holyrood, stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The Trump administration must respect the fundamental right to peaceful protest; it is a vital part of a healthy democracy.
‘Whilst we like to think we’re at the forefront of inclusive thinking in Scotland, racism is still a real problem in our society too. It must always be called out and exposed for what it is – completely unacceptable.
‘The SNP Scottish Government is taking concrete action to advance race equality and tackle racism; for example the Race Equality Framework 2016-2030, setting out a 15 year plan to make significant progress in this area.
‘The UK Government must use whatever diplomatic capital it can to hold the US administration accountable. If the human rights of black Americans cannot be safeguarded, the UK government must consider its own obligations under international law to review the impact of the UK’s arms trade with the United States.’