By Claire Gordon • 20 November 2021 • 11:52
Protest" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by chaddavis.photography
Protesters have hurled objects at police and damaged properties amid anger following the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who killed two people and injured another at a protest.
The shootings occurred in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2020 and the verdict at the 17-year-old’s trial has split the nation. Joe Biden has asked for calm and said he supports the jury’s decision in the case. Last year the president tweeted a video that seemed to link Rittenhouse with white supremacists.
“While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken”, he said. Former president Donald Trump has congratulated Rittenhouse on his verdict, saying “if that’s not self-defence, nothing is!”
According to KOIN TV, demonstrators were talking of burning down the Justice Center, while a gathering of around 200 people in Portland, Oregon was officially declared a riot. Protestors blocked streets as the police tweeted: “A crowd has gathered near SE 2nd Avenue and SE Madison Street and participants have begun breaking windows and damaging doors of city facilities in the area. People are throwing objects at police officers in the area.”
Portland was also the scene of many ongoing and violent protests after the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis last year. Activists at the demonstration said the police have been too heavy-handed in their response to the protest.
Amnesty International has responded to the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict and said it is likely to lead to more violence. “The painful reality is that our country’s criminal justice system – and our society – is predicated on white supremacy and anti-Black racism,” Paul O’Brien, the organisation’s US executive director, said.
“The state and federal government have a duty to protect people and their right to protest and peacefully assemble.
“Allowing private individuals, in this case a teenager, to arm themselves and take to the streets with no accountability for their actions will only serve to embolden vigilantism and act as a force multiplier for future violent clashes.
“We must continue to demand action to end gun violence and protect people’s right to protest, the right to live and the right to be free from discrimination.”
Rittenhouse was acquitted on two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, and two counts of recklessly endangering safety in the protests marred by arson and rioting.
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As he should have been acquitted. Everyone deserves a fair trial and the right to defend themselves. Grow up Portland. Have respect for your community and people to not destroy your area!!!!
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