Updated: February 26, 2021
U.S. governors and mayors must denounce white supremacy and protect Americans from armed groups ahead of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration on January 20, Amnesty International USA said on Wednesday.
The call was made in a letter to 3,500 United States mayors and governors.
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The open letter called for the public condemnation of violence and those enabling white supremacy at the highest government levels.
And it did not start with the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Since 2001, hundreds of Black officers have sued the Capitol Police Department for racial discrimination, according to ProPublica.
“Anyone who flies a Confederate flag, even if they claim it’s about heritage and not hate, we need to understand that it is a symbol of white supremacy,” Aryeh Tuchman, associate director for the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told the Tampa Bay Times, after a rioter was seen with a Confederate flag inside the Capitol building during the January 6 riots that tried to overturn Biden’s win.
Amnesty International USA is also calling for executive orders to be issued and emergency orders in place to prevent armed white supremacists from threatening or harming citizens.
There are indications that supremacist groups are becoming bolder and more violent. Simultaneously, the people who are supposed to protect and serve the American people seem to be part of the systemic issue, maybe even members. In June 2020, around 6,000 law enforcement officers were mobilized to the Black Lives Matter protest, and over 300 people were arrested. During the Capitol riots, about 60 people were arrested, and the rioters breached the Capitol. These events might not be as coincidental as some would like to think.
Groyper Army, a network of white nationalists, the white supremacist group the New Jersey European Heritage Association, and the far-right extremist Proud Boys, and The Nationalist Social Club (NSC-131), were all rioting at the Capitol. FBI has warned America on the growing dangers of violent domestic extremists, calling it the number one terrorism threat in 2021.