It’s been one year since George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. His death sparked widespread protests and reignited conversations about race, police brutality, and social injustice and he became a symbol in the fight for racial equality and police reform. Floyd’s family said they have been encouraged by the progress made in one year but like many voices of the black community they are still in shock, desperate for a systemic change. Darnella Frazier, the girl whose video of the murder went viral, found hers on Instagram. “I didn’t know this man from a can of paint but I knew that he was in pain. I knew that he was another black man in danger with no power.” The US government is currently working on a bill that would make it easier to get police officers charged.
The recently agreed ceasefire in the Middle East is holding up so far. Experts hope that both sides have achieved their goals and that there is no interest in further brutal confrontations at the moment. In Tel Aviv and other smaller cities, thousands of people demonstrated for the peaceful coexistence of Jews and Arabs. Ajman Odeh, head of the main Arab party in the Israeli parliament, calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. “There are two people here. Both deserve the right to self-determination,” he said. US President Biden also declared the two-state solution to be the “only answer” in this war.
A few days ago, the government of Belarus forced an airplane to land in the capital Minsk and arrested Roman Protesevich, a former editor of the enormously successful opposition news channel Nexta during the height of last summer’s mass protests in Belarus. This played a major role in organising the protests. European leaders have accused Belarus of hijacking the plane, since Protesevich is known to be „the enemy“ of Lukashenko but the president insisted he acted lawfully, claiming a bomb threat from Hamas as the reason for the forced landing. The Palestinian militant group has already denied any involvement. EU leaders have ramped up sanctions against Belarus by banning its airlines from their skies. Protesevich now faces charges of organising mass unrest and could possibly go to jail for up to 15 years or longer.
Since October last year, more than half a million migrants have been stopped along the border between Mexico and the United States and by the end of the year the number could rise to two million. Border guards speak of the largest increase in 20 years. One reason for this forming crisis is the hope that the border would be easier to cross under a president like Biden, an image that is diligently fueled by the Mexican smugglers, the “coyotes”. But in reality, this is not the case. Because of this, the number of unaccompanied minors who arrive at the border is also rising as children traveling alone have a way higher chance to get a residence permit.
The EU summit has ended but the EU states couldn’t agree on how to achieve their climate target. In their joint declaration, the heads of state and government only fixed to look at it again “in due course”. The EU should be climate-neutral by 2050, i.e., it should offset at least as much CO2 as it emits. Initially, a so-called “burden sharing” was a potential prospect, which would have regulated that countries like for example Germany must achieve higher percentage savings in climate-damaging emissions than others in a given period of time. This has now been erased from the contract. Now, countries that are still heavily dependent on coal like Eastern European countries, fear extremely drastic measures.