Democratic lawmakers take a knee to observe a moment of silence on Capitol Hill for George Floyd and other victims of police brutality in Washington DC on Monday. AFP
Democrats knelt in silent tribute to George Floyd in the US Congress on Monday before unveiling a package of sweeping police reforms in response to the killing of African Americans by law enforcement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer were joined by two dozen lawmakers in Congress' Emancipation Hall − named in honour of the slaves who helped erect the US Capitol in the 18th century.
They knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds to mark the length of time a white police officer pinned his knee on the neck of the 46-year-old Floyd, whose death in Minneapolis May 25 unleashed mass protests against racial injustice.
Pelosi and the other senior Democratic leaders, accompanied by members of the Black Congressional Caucus, said their bill aimed to create "meaningful, structural change that safeguards every Americans' right to safety and equal justice." The legislation seeks to "end police brutality, hold police accountable, improve transparency in policing," a statement said.
The "Justice and Policing Act," which introduced in both chambers of Congress, would make it easier to prosecute officers and rethink how they are recruited and trained.
Its chances of passage in the Senate, where Republicans hold the majority, is highly uncertain.
President Donald Trump, who is running for re-election in November, has accused his Democratic rival Joe Biden of seeking to "defund the police" while casting himself as the "law and order" president.
Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, vowed last week that the trial — already scheduled to open in the second week of February — should proceed, saying, “I don’t think it will be long, but we must do it.”
The journey to this moment has been painful and so very difficult. Derek Chauvin’s killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was a shocking and disturbing experience for so many people. On video, Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as he took his last breaths.
George Floyd's death sparked nationwide protests demanding a reckoning with institutional racism that have sometimes resulted in clashes with police, but many officers took a less aggressive stance over the weekend when demonstrations were overwhelmingly peaceful.
Sheikh Sultan has ordered the release of 399 prisoners of different nationalities from Sharjah's correctional and punitive establishments, ahead of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Qatar's Interior Ministry described the building as a four-story structure in Doha's Bin Durham neighborhood. It said rescuers found seven survivors, while the one person killed had been inside the building at the time of the collapse.
A large number of diplomatic corps, officials of the UAE, prominent business individuals and Pakistani community residing in the UAE participated in the event.