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Friday, September 4, 2020

Over 93 percent of summer protests were peaceful: report

‘With two months until the election, the US faces deep divisions over racial inequality.’

A vast majority of the anti-police brutality and racial justice protests that have erupted across the nation since the death of George Floyd have been peaceful and nonviolent, according to a new report.

The US Crisis Monitor — a joint project between ACLED and the Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) at Princeton University — analyzed real-time data about protest movements and political violence in the US, using news reports and social media for the report published on Thursday (Sept. 3). 

The ACLED recorded more than 10,600 demonstrations across the US between May 24 and August 22, about 93% were peaceful. Nearly 8,000 (precisely 7,750) were linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, the report states. 

Read More: Republican congressman threatens to kill protesters in Facebook post

“These data reveal that the United States is in crisis. It faces a multitude of concurrent, overlapping risks — from police abuse and racial injustice, to pandemic-related unrest and beyond — all exacerbated by increasing polarization,” the researchers wrote. 

March On Washington To Protest Police Brutality
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 28: Protesters hold signs of George Floyd during the Commitment March at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Natasha Moustache/Getty Images)

According to the study, less that 100 demonstrations between May 24 and August 22, where counter-protesters clashed with racial justice advocates, turned violent. The ACLED noted 43 incidents in the report.

“Authorities have used force — such as firing less-lethal weapons like tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray or beating demonstrators with batons — in over 54% of the demonstrations in which they have engaged,” the authors wrote.

They also warn that as we get closer to the November presidential election, “these intersecting risks are likely to intensify.”

“While these data present only a snapshot of demonstration activity and political violence in America, the trendlines are clear: demonstrations have erupted en masse around the country, and they are increasingly met with violence by state actors, non-state actors, and counter-demonstrators alike,” according to the authors. 

“With two months until the election, the US faces deep divisions over racial inequality, the role of the police, and economic hardship exacerbated by an ineffective pandemic response.”

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