Trump accused of 'creating hate and division', stoking violence

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Aug 31, 2020, 07:20 AM(IST)

Donald Trump Photograph:( Reuters )

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Violence and protests have been a regular feature in Portland ever since Black Lives Matter -- in support of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed due to the brutality of police on May 25.

Democrats have accused US President Donald Trump of trying to inflame racial tensions to benefit his campaign as he praised supporters who clashed with protesters in Portland, Oregon.

Violence and protests have been a regular feature in Portland ever since Black Lives Matter -- in support of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed due to the brutality of police on May 25.

On Sunday, one man -- identified as a supporter of a right-wing group -- was shot and killed in Portland when a large caravan of Trump's supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters clashed in the city's streets.

Despite this, Trump praised the caravan participants as "GREAT PATRIOTS!" and blamed the city's Democratic mayor for the death.

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He had earlier announced he will travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin, amid anger over the shooting of another Black man by police.

Trump has throughout the summer cast American cities as under siege by violence and lawlessness, despite the fact that most of the protests demonstrating against racial injustice have been largely peaceful.

To this end, Democrats accuse Trump of rooting for unrest and trying to stoke further violence for political gain instead of ratcheting down tensions.

Biden in a statement said he condemned violence on all side, while accusing Trump of "recklessly encouraging" it.

"He may think that war in our streets is good for his reelection chances, but that is not presidential leadership -- or even basic human compassion," Biden said.

"Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence," asked Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

"It's you who have created the hate and the division."

Trump prepared to travel this week to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where tensions are still raw after police shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, in the back seven times, leaving him paralysed.

The shooting has ignited new demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality months after George Floyd's death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer touched off a wider reckoning on race.

Trump has cast the upcoming election as clash between law and order and anarchy, and he has denounced protesters as "thugs" while sharply defending police. That theme was front-and-center at last week's Republican National Convention, which used recent protest footage to paint a foreboding and violent picture of the future if Biden denies Trump a second term.

The circumstances of Saturday night's shooting in Portland remain unclear.Video from the city shows sporadic fighting, as well as Trump supporters firing paintball pellets at opponents and using bear spray as counterprotesters threw things at the Trump caravan.

White House officials, meanwhile, continued to blame local leaders for allowing the protests to continue.

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