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Statement Condemning the Global Rise in Police Violence within Democratic States

July 7, 2024

Statement Condemning the Global Rise in Police Violence within Democratic States

The Lemkin Institute has become increasingly distressed and appalled by the escalation of the use of force by police and security forces against protestors in democratic states, particularly in the USA, Georgia, Armenia, India, and across Europe. The use of violent police tactics, the politicization of the law, and the targeting of political opponents are worrying signs of encroaching authoritarianism within putatively democratic and liberal regimes. Police violence against peaceful protest is a violation of civil and human rights. It can also set the stage for atrocity crimes by marginalizing specific communities, radicalizing tensions, and expanding the state’s willingness to use brute force as a means of social and political control. We reiterate that genocide prevention cannot exist without freedom of speech and assembly. The right to free speech, assembly, and protest is fundamental to inclusive and equitable societies. These rights empower individuals and communities to speak out against injustices and demand accountability from their governments. By ensuring people can voice their concerns and mobilize collectively, societies are better equipped to address and mitigate factors that could escalate into genocide.

The Lemkin Institute would like to remind the world that as defined by United Nations General Assembly resolution 34/169, "excessive force" is force that exceeds what is objectively reasonable and necessary in the circumstances confronting the officer. Article 3 of the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials advises that: "Law enforcement officials should use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.” Thus, it is clear that unprovoked police violence targeting peaceful protesters exercising their right to free speech is in stark violation of the framework set out by the United Nations.

The inclination of states to engage in repressive police tactics rather than constructively address the grievances of demonstrators is a concerning global trend.

USA:

As a US-based organization, we at the Lemkin Institute would be remiss to ignore the glaring issue of rampant police violence in the United States. Policing in the US has a long history of using violent tactics informed by racial bias, ethnic and class discrimination, and a lack of respect for the legally protected freedoms of speech and assembly.

The American conception of policing is deeply imbricated with the nation’s long history of discrimination, genocide, slavery, and anti-Black and anti-Native racism. One cannot remove the history of racism from that of policing in the United States; the earliest iterations of American police forces are rooted in slave patrols and gangs paid to track down, return, or kill runaway slaves. Later, American police forces were used extensively across the nation to enforce racist Jim Crow laws that explicitly and implicitly discriminated against Black Americans. Further, it would be those same police forces that would meet peaceful protestors demonstrating for equal rights during the Civil Rights movement with overwhelming violence.

Considering its roots and the contemporary construction of the American judicial system, it is no surprise that American police forces continue to use disturbingly violent tactics, with victims of police violence disproportionately being people of color, especially Black Americans.

Policing tactics and cultures that rest on the use of violence as a means of social control inherently produce outcomes that reflect the acceptance of violent, often deadly, force used by police. The United States jails more people than any nation on the planet, and its police forces kill more than any comparable nation. The United States is surpassed by few countries when comparing the numbers its police forces kill, with only Brazilian and Venezuelan police forces killing more than their American counterparts, according to a 2023 study.

Further, police forces in the United States are heavily militarized, and in some instances they receive equipment directly from the military. According to the 2023 study noted above, police officers in the United States receive, on average, only 21 weeks of training, compared to other countries where they receive nearly a year or more of training.

2020 brought what is possibly the largest protest movement in the history of the United States. Millions took to the streets denouncing the institutionalized racism of police forces following the police killing of an unarmed Black man named George Floyd in Minneapolis, the agonizing 9-minute video of which went viral. The police response to the George Floyd protests was astonishingly violent and repressive. In Minneapolis, Portland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York, police used tactics and weapons that are illegal and generally reserved for warfare, including abductions of protesters by unmarked federal officers using unmarked vans. Police forces from the local, state, and federal levels openly colluded with right-wing extremist organizations and militias to repress protesters.

While American police departments receive weapons and equipment from the US military, many get their training from experts on another continent entirely. Hundreds of police agencies, including ICE, border patrol, and the FBI, have received training directly from the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and Israeli police in Israel, and thousands more have received training from Israeli officials in the United States. It bears mentioning that the UN, US State Department, and numerous organizations in Israel and Palestine have found that Israeli police commit gross violations such as excessive use of force against peaceful protestors, arbitrary detention, torture, and extrajudicial killings. The racism inherent in the policing arrangement between the United States and Israel is clear, as these techniques are used predominantly against people of color in the United States and Palestinians in Israel.

Rather than heed overdue calls to shift the training and function of American police, municipalities and cities across the country responded to protests with violence, arresting over 13,000 demonstrators. A New York Times report from 2021 detailed the extensive manner in which, almost without exception, police agencies around the country were militarized, responded with violence, and were untrained in how to manage large protests properly.

These protests and the aims of the demonstrators have largely been forgotten. Widespread calls to defund police agencies have been rendered moot in the continuing American practice of allocating greater funds to the militarized police than to social services. A recent Oxford study notes that police budgets in Republican cities increased following the George Floyd protests.

Given that the Black Lives Matter arose around the issue of police brutality, it is pertinent to outline how extreme and profound the level of police violence is in the United States. Over the past decade, from 2013 to 2023, American police killed over 1,000 people each year. Most recently, in 2023, police killed at least 1,247 people. Further, the rate of police shootings by ethnicity reflects extreme racial disparities in police violence and brutality; Black Americans are nearly three times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts.

State militarization and the culture of violence that it supports were on full display in more recent police crackdowns on pro-Palestine protests across the country, which the Lemkin Institute considers to be anti-genocide protests. This year saw an unprecedented level of police violence on college campuses. At universities large and small, students and faculty took to the plazas and greens of their campuses and occupied spaces in solidarity with Palestinians while demanding their schools divest from Israel. The overwhelming majority of these protests were peaceful, and some universities saw the occupation of university buildings — a common tactic of student protestors.

Crackdowns on students and faculty members by police for exercising freedom of speech by protesting the genocidal policies of the Israeli government were often violent and without cause. Widely circulated video from Emory University in Atlanta saw a professor violently tackled to the ground by police for asking officers why they were arresting a student. Columbia University, which is celebrated for its history of student protest against injustices during the war in Vietnam and the crime of apartheid South Africa, brought in New York City police to raid a student-led encampment and a building occupation. At UCLA, police stood idly by while violent counter-protestors assaulted the pro-Palestine encampment. Police then moved in to arrest pro-Palestine protests and destroy the encampment. More than 3,000 students, professors, and activists were arrested following police assaults around the country.

Police violence is unacceptable. Citizens of countries around the globe should have the right to assemble and speak freely; police forces should defend these rights rather than crush popular discontent.

Georgia:

For weeks across April and May, Georgia has experienced an unprecedented rise in extrajudicial police violence against protesters following the introduction of the controversial “foreign agents” law. The law has been referred to by critics as the “Russian law” due to its similarities to a Russian law that targets dissent against the Kremlin. The recently passed law requires organizations that receive more than 20% of their funding from outside of Georgia to register as ‘entities which pursue the interests of foreign forces’ or face criminal proceedings. Criticizing the bill, President Zourabichvili referred to it as “fundamentally Russian” “in its essence and spirit.” Parliament later overrode Zourabichvili’s veto, enshrining the bill into law. In response to parliamentary proceedings regarding the bill, tens of thousands of peaceful protesters gathered in Tbilisi beginning in mid-April and have continued to protest since, blocking the entrance to the parliament building.

In response to the persistent anti-government and pro-European protests, Georgia’s security services began a violent crackdown on dissent, using unlawful force against peaceful protestors. Protestors have been subjected to intimidation and fear tactics by the police, who have used escalatory and violent methods of crowd dispersal. Such tactics include but are not limited to tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets. Videos posted on social media and covered in regional and world news depict the police using these brutal tactics in an attempt to disperse demonstrators.

Following protests on 1 May, at least 15 people sought medical treatment for injuries inflicted by the police. On this same day, at least eight people reported being hit with rubber bullets. Deputy Interior Minister Aleksandre Darakhvelidze denied this the next day, saying "no rubber bullets'' were used against protestors, "although there were sufficient legal reasons for their use." Darakhvelidze’s justification of police brutality aside, this statement is patently false. Wounds sustained by protesters were consistent with the harm caused by rubber bullets, and expended rubber bullet shells were found at protest sites.

Furthermore, a video published online by the Associated Press on 2 May depicts police firing water cannons from inside the parliamentary gates at unarmed, defenseless civilians. Another video from Reuters shows a similar situation on 30 April, with police in riot gear spraying water cannons at the peaceful protesters, immediately followed by the deployment of tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

In addition to violent dispersal techniques, protestors have been subject to indiscriminate beatings and harassment by police officers. Georgian news outlet Formula Originals has been documenting the use of brute physical force against innocent civilians, exposing the savage tactics of the country’s police force. One video, posted to the social media platform Instagram on 16 April, depicts a man being chased through an alleyway by masked special forces officers before being caught, pinned to the ground, and beaten in the street. In early May, several opposition activists were beaten randomly in the street and left with injuries requiring hospitalization. One activist, Dimitri Chikovani, claims that the ruling party hired his clandestine attackers. Several other opposition figures were tracked down and beaten on the same night. Another protestor, 60-year-old veteran Gia Kikacheishvili, told Radio Free Europe that he was dragged away from the protest by a group of special forces. He then says he was physically assaulted and aggressively interrogated about his involvement in the protest. Following this violation of personal liberties, he was arrested for “blocking the road.” Even prominent politicians have not been spared from experiencing police brutality. Chairman of the opposition United National Movement party, Levan Khabeishvili, showed signs of a severe beating after attending a protest on 30 April.

After almost two months of protests, demonstrators claim around 300 protestors have been arrested for “Petty Hooliganism” and “Disobeying the Police,” otherwise known as practicing the right to free expression and assembly. According to human rights group Amnesty International, “dozens of peaceful protestors have been fined solely for participating in the protests.”

While the “foreign agents” law is a possible threat to independent media, the Georgian government has used the protests as an excuse to curb anti-government dissent while increasing monitoring tactics characteristic of authoritarian regimes. In response to repeated instances of extrajudicial police brutality, Zviad Kharazishvili, the head of the national police’s Special Tasks Department, admitted in a televised report his force’s willingness to exercise unrestrained force against protesters and confirmed the existence of a “list” of protesters who police would specifically target. On 1 May, the U.S. State Department condemned the police violence, asserting that “The statements and actions of the Georgian government are incompatible with democratic values…” and expressed support for the Georgian people’s right to be heard.

In a country with a history of ethnic cleansing directed against Georgians, it is paramount that the government protect the freedom of speech, as it is a primary mechanism for preventing mass atrocities and raising awareness of past genocides. In remembrance of Georgia’s tragic history, the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention would like to join organizations such as Amnesty International in calling on the Georgian government to protect the freedom of speech and the right to protest peacefully.

Armenia:

We at the Lemkin Institute join Amnesty International, Freedom House, and Transparency International’s Anti-Corruption Center in expressing concern and condemning police violence and repression in Armenia. Protests and subsequent police crackdowns in Armenia have increased following discontent amid the unilateral territorial concessions to Azerbaijan as part of the border delimitation process. As critics have stated, the aggressive police responses to dissent seem to serve Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the ruling party’s interests rather than that of the Armenian people; the police should not function merely as an instrument of state control but as servants of the citizens and protectors of democracy.

Critics of police brutality in Armenia have further argued that the Prime Minister is taking orders from the West, with the latter's interests being profit and power, rather than empowering Armenia and its people. This perspective has been reinforced by Armenia’s recent geopolitical shift away from Russia, intentions to leave the CSTO, and warming relations with the West, particularly the United States. Some examples include the activities of the Capstone Meeting of the Armenia-US Strategic Partnership Commission and the visit by Deputy Director of the CIA, David Cohen. During the Capstone Meeting, Foreign Minister Ararat Mizoryan asserted to US Assistant Secretary of State O’Brien that a “strong commitment to democratic principles is at the very core of our partnership.” Ironically, USAID continues to provide significant aid to Armenian police despite credible reports of human rights abuses and brutality against the democratic opposition, journalists, and dissenters.

Kirants, one of the ceded villages in the Tavush region now partly under Azeri control, was originally the epicenter of protests. On multiple occasions, police violated Armenian citizens’ freedom of assembly and violently dispersed and detained the demonstrators protesting the handover of the villages. These protests became the "Tavush for Homeland" movement and continued within the capital city, Yerevan. Notably, on 27 May, there was a significant increase in police brutality against protesters in Yerevan, with officers violently beating members of parliament, violating their parliamentary immunity, and restricting their freedom of movement. Police deployed tear gas on some streets, and community leaders from Artsakh were arrested, allegedly to deter other Artsakh citizens from joining rallies and acts of civil disobedience. These arrests come after local communities from regions across Armenia were warned and threatened that participating in the protests would result in the withdrawal of governmental aid.

The following day drew additional attention when police physically blocked the path of Catholicos Garegin II and senior clergymen from visiting the Sardarapat National Memorial on the 106th anniversary of Armenia’s independence. Clergy were forced to break through multiple police cordons to lay wreaths and pray at the memorial.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and ruling party members have supported the police’s actions at Sardarapat National Memorial, defending them as necessary to prevent potential disruption or provocation and claiming that authorities sought clarification of the clergy’s intention. However, video evidence contradicts the ruling party’s claims.

The police’s actions on this occasion have been widely condemned by various entities, including the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Diaspora dioceses, opposition leaders, and critics of the Armenian government. They have characterized the incident as a stark example of authoritarian overreach and disrespect for national symbols. This incident highlights a deep-seated societal polarization, where the lines between law enforcement duties and political maneuvering become increasingly blurred.

Since June 9, protesters had gathered around the parliament building in Yerevan on Baghramyan Avenue and Proshyan Street to demand a vote of no confidence in the current regime. On 12 June, additional reports of police brutality emerged, with officers accused of excessive force. Officers deployed dozens of smoke and stun grenades aimed directly at demonstrators and journalists, resulting in the injury of almost a hundred people. Police officers sustained minor injuries during the clashes, while one protester suffered a severe injury when a grenade blew off his hand.

The Union of Informed Citizens highlighted the absence of any evidence that the police had issued the necessary warnings to the demonstrators before deploying stun grenades. Further, the required minimum distance to use these weapons, 2.5 meters, was not observed, directly leading to physical injuries. Since the protests began, no members of the police force, including those known as "red berets," have faced criminal charges for excessive use of force. The authorities have defended the police action despite previously stated commitments to ending police violence and addressing issues of impunity. Nevertheless, numerous renowned international human rights organizations have criticized the conduct of the Armenian police.

The Lemkin Institute condemns this police violence and reiterates the words of Amnesty International that “the authorities’ response to protests, even when they turn violent, must be strictly compliant with international human rights law and standards.”

The flippant response of the US to the human rights violations by Armenian police during the 12 June protests legitimize state repression in the face of democratic expression. The US Embassy in Armenia proclaimed that “the democratic process is the way to resolve political disputes.” In this vein, the US prefers police violence over the freedom of assembly and speech, an ideology it, too, has violated in the violent repression of student-led, pro-Palestine protests across the USA. The condemnation of Georgian police by the US but not the actions of Armenian police show that foreign policy preferences take precedence over human rights violations.

It is important to note that American law enforcement agencies have been instrumental in training Armenian police through initiatives such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) pilot program. Moreover, in the joint statement on U.S.-Armenia Strategic Dialogue during the Capstone meeting on 11 June 2024, participants emphasized the lasting partnership between the United States and Armenia, highlighting U.S. assistance in Armenia's defense and law enforcement advancement. The United States reaffirmed its continuous commitment to enhancing Armenia’s law enforcement capabilities through advisory programs, military-to-military engagements, professional military education under International Military Education and Training (IMET), and the longstanding State Partnership Program with the Kansas National Guard. Hence, the training provided by U.S. agencies may carry over practices and methodologies typical of American law enforcement, including the controversial use of brute force. The United States has faced significant scrutiny and criticism for its handling of civil unrest, which often involves aggressive tactics. If similar approaches are being taught and implemented in Armenia, it could explain instances of police brutality witnessed in the country.

The aggressive dispersal tactics used against protesters and journalists in both countries reflect a stark contradiction to the proclaimed commitment to peace, democratic principles, and human rights. This commitment should mean safeguarding the right to peaceful assembly and free speech, not suppressing dissent through violence and bloodshed. It is imperative for the Armenian authorities to cease any violent repression of peaceful protests and commit to upholding the democratic principles they claim to follow. Only by honoring the right to peaceful assembly and addressing the grievances through dialogue rather than force can Armenia reinforce its commitment to withstanding and preventing the genocidal practices imposed by Azerbaijan and safeguarding human rights for all its citizens.

Europe:

In recent months, Europe has witnessed a concerning rise in police brutality against pro-Palestinian protests. This alarming trend not only highlights the threat of violence employed by law enforcement agencies but also signals a troubling contraction of the fundamental right to protest in a region that credits itself with inventing modern human rights. Incidents across various European cities have shown a disproportionate use of force, including the deployment of water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets, and aggressive physical tactics against largely peaceful demonstrators. Such measures, ostensibly aimed at maintaining public order, often result in unnecessary harm and escalate tensions rather than defusing them.

The heavy-handed approach adopted by police forces represents a dangerous erosion of civil liberties. In democratic societies, the right to peaceful assembly and protest is sacrosanct, providing a crucial outlet for citizens to express their views, advocate for change, and hold those in power accountable. However, the excessive use of force during these demonstrations not only suppresses free expression but also intimidates the public by signaling that dissent will be met with violence. This signals dark times ahead for European democracy.

Numerous reports have emerged detailing instances of police brutality during these protests. Peaceful demonstrators have been subjected to physical violence, arbitrary detention, and intimidation tactics. Such actions are not isolated incidents but rather part of a broader pattern that undermines public trust in law enforcement and government institutions. The use of heavy-handed tactics can deter individuals from participating in future protests, thereby shrinking the space for civic engagement and silencing marginalized voices.

The Europe.Palestine.Network Instagram page serves as a vital platform for uniting pro-Palestinian collectives across Europe, facilitating global actions, and sharing news within the community. It also documents human rights abuses, amplifies the voices of the oppressed, and fosters solidarity within the pro-Palestinian community.

By archiving information, the page highlights the collective efforts of Pro-Palestinian groups in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, and the UK. It provides detailed coverage of incidents involving police brutality against peaceful protesters, shedding light on the systemic oppression faced by activists advocating for Palestinian rights. Among the notable tactics documented are student encampments, where young activists establish prolonged protest sites to raise awareness and demand justice. These encampments often become flashpoints for police brutality, with law enforcement using excessive force to dismantle the camps, disperse protesters, and intimidate the movement.

The suppression of pro-Palestinian protests is particularly concerning given the context. Deep-seated concerns about human rights and social justice often drive these protests. The forceful crackdown on such demonstrations raises serious questions about the commitment of European nations to uphold democratic values and human rights. It also suggests a double standard in the application of law enforcement, where the expression of particular political views is met with harsher responses.

Central to these protests is a genocide prevention agenda. Demonstrators are calling for an immediate ceasefire and demanding that their respective governments condemn crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians. The protests aim to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis and advocate for the protection of innocent lives, urging international action to prevent further escalation and atrocities. Demonstrators call on European governments to take a firm stance, both in foreign and in their domestic policies, to address these grave concerns and work towards a just and lasting peace.

As Europe faces this critical juncture, authorities must uphold their obligations under international human rights law and ensure that law enforcement practices respect the rights and freedoms of all individuals. This includes conducting thorough investigations into allegations of police misconduct, holding those responsible accountable, and implementing measures to prevent future abuses.

India:

On paper, India is the world’s largest democracy, a multi-ethnic melting pot of different cultures and ideas, and the birthplace of two ancient religions. However, historically and contemporarily, the Indian state rests on the weaponization of its security and police apparatus to maintain control in times of widespread discontent. Such a weaponization of security forces has become increasingly apparent under Narendra Modi and his right-wing government, led by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has pursued a startlingly Islamophobic platform. Police violence in India is this at high risk of devolving into genocide.

Prime Minister Modi has often used Islamophobic and xenophobic rhetoric while leaning into Hindu nationalism, Hindutva, inflaming tensions between the country’s disparate religious communities. Last June, over 500 organizations and members of civil society alleged that the BJP governor of Manipur state directly contributed to ethnic violence in the state. Chief Minister N Biren Singh stands accused by the groups of fanning the flames of violence that took the lives of over 200 and displaced thousands. Civil society groups accuse BJP officials of leaning into ethnic division as a means of controlling the diverse groups comprising Indian society.

During the first nine months of 2023, the National Human Rights Commission of India documented 1,673 deaths in judicial custody, 126 deaths in police custody, and 55 alleged extrajudicial killings. Accountability for police brutality and extrajudicial killings is rare in India, even in circumstances where fault is readily apparent. Previous Indian administrations, as well as the current BJP-led government, have relied on a colonial-era law, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), that has long shielded security forces from being brought to justice for their crimes.

Indian policing abuses are nowhere more pronounced than in the long-disputed regions of Jammu and Kashmir. The sole majority-Muslim region in India has often been a hotbed for discontent and insurgency. Kashmir has been the impetus of several wars between India and Pakistan, as well as a brief Indo-Chinese war. Police and security forces have long operated with little oversight in the embattled region. Further, the central government has granted special powers to the military under the AFSPA, including the power to impose curfews, place limits on the right to assemble and freedom of speech, conduct warrantless arrests, and grant security forces a broad mandate to use force, including lethal force, against civilians and militants alike.

For decades, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations have highlighted the police and security violence in the Jammu and Kashmir region in India. Throughout 2024, police violence and repression in Kashmir and across India have continued, fueled by Prime Minister Modi and the BJP’s reliance on inflaming ethnic and religious tensions to retain its control over Indian politics.

This year, in February, during a revival of farmer-led protests that paralyzed New Delhi in 2020, police fired on protestors with live ammunition, killing a 24-year-old farmer. Amnesty International reports that security forces deployed 4,500 rounds of tear gas in just six hours during the protests.

Separately, in February, police allowed and facilitated mob violence targeting Muslim residents in the northern Indian town of Haldwani. State authorities have stepped up a campaign implemented in 2019 of house and property demolitions targeting Muslim residents. House demolitions follow a similar practice the Israeli government conducts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Curiously, akin to the United States, India has maintained a “counter-terrorism” agreement that supports the training of Indian personnel by Israeli officials in Israel. Reports of violence by state and non-state actors marred the recent Lok Sabha, the Indian parliamentary elections. Several voters testified to being compelled to vote for Modi’s BJP and its allies while security forces stood idly by.

Assaulting and dispersing protestors organizing for policy changes is not a characteristic of a pluralistic, democratic, free society. Police using live ammunition, rubber bullets, and the excessive use of tear gas against farmers, including the elderly, places protestors in extreme danger. Indian authorities must refrain from the use of such tactics and ensure the right to assembly is respected.

The Lemkin Institute calls on Indian authorities to respect the rights of its citizens to protest and engage in civil disobedience and dissent. We condemn the use of violent tactics, police brutality, and collective punishment in the form of house demolitions. India, like all countries mentioned in this statement, must cease violent policing tactics and engage with citizens on the issues, not through a monopoly on violence but through discussion, understanding, and tolerances, key tenets of genocide prevention.

Conclusion:

Civil disobedience has historically played a critical role in preventing and drawing attention to genocides and other atrocities. Individuals and groups can highlight injustices and mobilize public opinion against oppressive regimes or policies through nonviolent resistance. The ability to protest and engage in civil disobedience is essential for holding governments accountable and preventing the escalation of violence and human rights abuses. Suppressing these forms of expression not only curtails democratic freedoms but also risks allowing unchecked abuses to continue, potentially leading to greater atrocities.

Moreover, the use of excessive force by police forces can have far-reaching consequences. It can lead to increased polarization, social unrest, and a cycle of violence that further destabilizes communities. Law enforcement agencies must adopt a proportionate and restrained approach to managing protests, prioritizing dialogue and de-escalation over confrontation. Preserving civil disobedience as a legitimate form of protest is crucial for preventing human rights abuses and ensuring that the voices of the oppressed are heard.

We at the Lemkin Institute condemn police overreach and the use of violent tactics to disperse and forcefully disallow demonstrators from exercising their civil rights. Speech and constructive dialogue are the cornerstones of societies that protect human rights and engage in genocide prevention. We reiterate our commitment to standing in solidarity with those protesting injustice, discrimination, political oppression, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

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