AFL-CIO: Attack on headquarters during night of protests ‘disgraceful’
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is calling the attack on the labor group’s Washington, D.C., headquarters during a night of protests over the death of George Floyd on Sunday evening “senseless” and “disgraceful.”
The building, on 16th Street NW near the White House, was set on fire during the third day of protests in the nation’s capital.
“We categorically reject those on the fringes who are engaging in violence and destroying property. Attacks like the one on the AFL-CIO headquarters are senseless, disgraceful and only play into the hands of those who have oppressed workers of color for generations and detract from the peaceful, passionate protesters who are rightly bringing issues of racism to the forefront,” Trumka said in a statement early Monday.
Trumka added That “the labor movement is not a building.”
“We are a living collection of working people who will never stop fighting for economic, social and racial justice. We are united unequivocally against the forces of hate who seek to divide this nation for their own personal and political gain at our expense,” he said.
The AFL-CIO building was vandalized. Crowd smashed windows and broke into the lobby just before the 11pm curfew. The HQ building located just a block from Lafayette Square & the White House. @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/vFXjbixHBz
— Fin Gomez (@finnygo) June 1, 2020
Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody, and video footage showed a now-fired officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes while Floyd said he could not breathe. The officer has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
“Racism plays an insidious role in the daily lives of all working people of color. This is a labor issue because it is a workplace issue. It is a community issue, and unions are the community. We must and will continue to fight for reforms in policing and to address issues of racial and economic inequality,” Trumka said in his statement.
He added: “We will clean up the glass, sweep away the ashes and keep doing our part to bring a better day out of this hour of darkness and despair.”
Numerous Washington, D.C., landmarks, including the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial and the Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski statue in Freedom Plaza, were vandalized on Sunday as well as monuments in several other states.
The AFL-CIO endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president last week and announced it will mobilize its members to defeat President Trump in November.
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