United States: two dead in protests for Jacob Blake

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KENOSHA | Two people were shot dead on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday in the American city of Kenosha, the scene of a third evening of protests punctuated by violence demanding that justice be done for the African-American Jacob Blake, victim of a apparent police blunder.

• Read also: Anger is spreading to several American cities

“The shooting resulted in the death of two people and a third person was hospitalized with serious injuries, but which do not endanger his life,” Kenosha police announced on Twitter, without giving further information on the profile of actively sought shooter or victims.

According to New York Times, gunfire broke out during a confrontation between demonstrators and a group of armed men. Members of armed militias patrolled the city to protect buildings from possible acts of vandalism by protesters.

Violence erupted in the northern Wisconsin city as hundreds of protesters marched for the third night in a row, despite the imposition of a curfew, to demand accountability after the broadcast of a video showing Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African-American seriously injured by police fire and possibly paralyzed for life.

Clashes broke out in particular between a group of demonstrators throwing firecrackers and police retaliating with rubber bullets. An AFP journalist was hit by one of these rubber bullets.

Residents of the city came armed in order, they assured, to prevent further damage. “Some do not realize that by burning down a building, you endanger the lives of firefighters and anyone who may be inside,” said Kevin Mathewson, pistol in his belt and AR-15 assault rifle in shoulder strap.

Kenosha police said they had been alerted to reports of gunfire and several victims, adding that an “active investigation” was underway.

Videos, uploaded, showed people running through the streets of Kenosha as gunshots rang out. In others, we can see injured men on the ground.

Anger has also spread to the streets of Minneapolis, the city where George Floyd died on May 25 and the starting point of the historic movement against racism, in which the United States has been plunged for three months.

“Need to heal”

Earlier Tuesday, Jacob Blake’s mother appealed for calm as authorities feared further tense protests across the United States.

“My son is fighting for his life”, said, moved, Julia Jackson, mother of the victim, during a press conference in Kenosha, in the state of Wisconsin.

“If Jacob knew what was going on, the violence and the destruction, he would be very unhappy (…) We need to heal,” she added as her son was in the operating room again.

As for George Floyd, a black forty-something who died of suffocation under the knee of a white policeman three months ago, the attempted arrest of Jacob Blake was filmed by a witness on Sunday.

The footage shows the young African American being followed by two policemen with their guns drawn as he walks around a car.

An officer grabs his white tank top as he opens the door and tries to get into the driver’s seat. The policeman then fired (the recording suggests seven shots), hitting this father with several bullets in the back.

“The medical diagnosis at the moment is that he is paralyzed,” Mr. Blake’s family lawyer Ben Crump said.

The two police officers involved were suspended from their duties and an investigation was opened.

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