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29 Aug, 2020 03:01

Michelle Obama hails ‘swift & powerful’ protests, decries racism but stays silent on riots in comment on Kenosha shootings

Michelle Obama hails ‘swift & powerful’ protests, decries racism but stays silent on riots in comment on Kenosha shootings

Former first lady Michelle Obama has said she was "devastated" over this week's shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, asking for “bullhorns” and votes to spur change while staying mum on violence that has engulfed the city.

She made no mention of the violent protests that have torn Kenosha apart and left parts of the city in ruins.

Obama lamented on Friday on Twitter that American children are seeing systemic racism every day. "Sometimes they see it on the news, sometimes they see it from the White House Rose Garden, and sometimes they see it from the back seat of a car," she said, apparently alluding to Jacob Blake, black man who was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha police last Sunday as his children looked on from his car.

She went on to talk about her being "exhausted and frustrated," but seeing "glimmers of something different" when she looks at the "swift and powerful protests that have risen up around the country." The protests are "opening eyes, rattling consciences and reminding people of all backgrounds that this problem" won't be solved unless "we all make a change."

She urged Democratic Party supporters to continue taking to the streets as well as showing up for the November elections.  

I want to encourage you all to keep using your bullhorns and your ballots to reform policies in our cities and our neighborhoods

Obama's message elicited praise and gratitude from her supporters, including one who said: "Your words always lower my blood pressure and your face invigorates me."

However, her failure to mention that initially peaceful protests have descended into chaos, rioting and looting, prompted even some of the Democratic Party supporters to call on her to address the issue.

"Please ask for peaceful demonstrations," one Twitter user said. "Breaking, burning, destruction and loathing is not helping their cause and making it hard to support."

The sentiment has struck a chord with many.

One netizen observed: "Yes, but I have not seen peaceful protests – only riots and looting, which led to people being killed. It needs to stop. Violence on violence is not the answer." Another said: "Even the parents, families of all the victims are pleading for peace. Violence is not a legacy they want for their loved ones."

Obama’s post also came on the heels of controversy that arose last week, when she said in her speech at the Democratic National Convention that "if we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it." The statement was interpreted by some to suggest that riots will continue if Americans don't vote for Democrats.

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