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'We can't breathe until we're free': Palestinians stand in solidarity with US protesters

BDS leaders voice support for Black Lives Matter as protests rage against police brutality following killing of George Floyd
An unarmed Black man, Floyd was killed by a police officer who kneeled onto his neck while arresting him (MEE)
By MEE staff in Washington

The national committee for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) has voiced its support for "Black Lives Matter" after major cities across the US were rocked by a sixth night of protests against police brutality following the killing of George Floyd.

The committee said in a statement on Sunday that it is standing in "solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters" who are calling for justice after "the latest wave of insufferable police murders of Black Americans".

"We can't breathe until we're free from oppression and racism," the committee said, echoing some of the final words of Floyd, a black man whose killing by a white policeman has triggered protests across the US.

Floyd was killed last Monday as he was being arrested outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota after he reportedly used a counterfeit $20 bill.

In a disturbing video that has since gone viral, a white police officer knelt on Floyd's neck as he lay on the ground crying out that he could not breathe.

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According to court documents, Derek Chauvin, the police officer now charged with third-degree murder, had his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. 

The owners of the shop, who have faced multiple death threats for calling the police, have condemned the actions of law enforcement, calling it an "execution".

Since Tuesday, protesters have been rallying in major cities against the failure of America's policing system to address the staggering number of deaths of unarmed Black Americans.

"The growing protests by 'the unheard' against police  are fundamentally an uprising against an entire system of racist exploitation and oppression," the committee said.

"The genocidal destruction of native American nations, the pillage of their wealth and resources, and the savage enslavement of millions of Africans constitute the most profound pillars of what became the US.

"The deeply-seated white supremacist ideology that has guided and attempted to whitewash these crimes is still alive, albeit in different forms."

The committee for BDS, which is inspired by the campaign that brought down South Africa's apartheid regime, also drew parallels between the struggle of Palestinians who are resisting Israeli occupation, and Black Americans, who are fighting for justice in the US.

"To our Black brothers and sisters, your resilience in the face of brutal dehumanisation is a source of inspiration to our own struggle against Israel's regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid," the committee said.

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