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Lockdown Vs. Protests: Which Is It?

Is social distancing less important than protesting?

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Protests have continued following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer, and not just in the United States.

June 6 featured mostly peaceful protests attended by millions of Americans in cities across the country. It was an event where millions would express their frustration at what happened to Floyd and perhaps many other black men who had met similar fates.

While many feared the protests would turn violent, there was not much of rioting. This may have been partly because of the less aggressive police and security units. On some days, large numbers of officers in full riot gear have confronted protesters, but Saturday’s event in Washington D.C. and other cities had a more relaxed police presence. Since then, the East Coast has calmed down, though violence continues on the West Coast, in cities like Seattle.

There are some concerns that the mass protests could lead to spreading the Coronavirus. “I’m concerned that we had mass gatherings on our streets when we just lifted a stay-at-home order and what that could mean for spikes in coronavirus cases later,” said Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington D.C.

Many people are now starting to question why some government officials have supported the mass protests when just a few days ago they were insisting that Americans had to stay locked inside their homes.

“If we don’t wear face masks, if we don’t socially distance, if we sort of shrug this off as a plot, not a real threat to our family, we are going to be in a dangerous position in a beautiful community,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee on May 29. As his state slowly reopens, Inslee has ordered that people returning to work must wear masks if they are not alone. Yet he praised the massive protests in Seattle and other parts of Washington following the death of George Floyd.

Does this mean that justice is more important than social distancing – or that the lockdown was never needed in the first place?

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