Alyn Smith, MP for Stirling and Shadow SNP Foreign Secretary stands in solidarity with the anti-racism Black Lives Matter campaign after being contacted by hundreds of his constituents.
The campaign followed outrage over the murder of George Floyd, a black man who was suffocated by a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck. There have been widespread protests across America and the rest of the world, with many peaceful demonstrations suffering violent incidents from government security measures.
Donald Trump, the US President has been internationally criticised over his response towards protestors and his push for American Governors to use excessive force against them.
In a letter to the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, Smith called for the UK government to “speak out against the actions of the Trump administration’s handling of the current civil unrest in the United States.”
He also wrote: “It is deeply worrying that in response to this, President Trump has threatened to use military force against protestors. There are also widespread reports of violence against peaceful protestors and journalists which is an affront to the rights that we, as a country, uphold.”
As we start to see protests on our streets is it not time for the Government to hold the President to account for his actions?Alyn Smith, Stirling MP
“Peaceful protest is a fundamental right and a vital part of a healthy democracy. Will the Government take action and stand up for the rights of black Americans and denounce the authoritarian language used by Donald Trump which is eroding norms and trust in traditional government?”
Smith also brought attention to the reports of UK produced weapons, such as rubber bullets and tear gas, being misused by police to harm protesters. The MP asked for the Foreign Secretary’s view on the appropriateness of this and questioned whether it broke export restrictions.
In a statement, 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.”
Feature image credit: BBC