The Dalai Lama blamed racism and discrimination for the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota, which has sparked riots and demonstrations across the country.
Speaking from Dharamsala, India, Tibet’s exiled leader held the first of a two-day virtual lecture about empowerment and compassion when he made his remarks.
“We see in the news channels, the media, about discrimination on the basis of color or religion these days, and then there is killing due to that, and then there are some who even take it as a pride to be able to kill somebody,” he said. “Just yesterday, I saw on the television news, somewhere in Minnesota, or somewhere in America, one black person had actually fallen under a car, and the police team … and he actually pushed his knee on the neck of that black person.
“So, because of this discrimination, racism on the basis of race, such things are done,” he added.
The Dalai Lama’s comments were part of a two-day Avalokiteshvara empowerment talk at his residence.
Protests began this week in Minneapolis after a video showing a police officer pinning his knee on Floyd’s neck during an arrest Monday went viral. Floyd repeatedly indicated he couldn’t breathe as onlookers begged the officer, identified as Derek Chauvin, to stop.
Chauvin and three other officers involved in the arrest have been fired. He has been charged with 3rd-degree murder and manslaughter in connection to Floyd’s death, authorities announced Friday.
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Protests continued in Minneapolis Thursday night. At one point, rioters broke into a police precinct and sparked a fire, prompting the evacuation of officers from the building. More than 500 members of the National Guard were called to the Twin Cities region in response to the civil unrest.