On June 3, the WFTU Secretariat issued the following statement of protest to the UN and the ILO against the repression exercised by the US government against protesters.
USA: WFTU protest over the US government repression against working people protests
The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), representing more than 100 million affiliates who live, toil and struggle in 130 countries of the whole world, expresses its strong protest over the brutal repression unleashed by the US state against the workers and the people of the country who have been taking the streets in order to protest against racism, repression and police violence during the last days.
These marches, which erupted as a righteous expression of the US workers and people’s outrage after the assassination of the 47-year-old African-American George Floyd by police officers, have been brutally suppressed by the US Federal and State authorities. At the same time, while the US employees, unemployed and pensioners have been suffering the COVID-19 pandemic consequences in a country with terrible shortages on medical supply, ventilators and public healthcare infrastructures, the US leaders prefer to intensify repression against the people who protest.
So far, there have been registered more that 5,600 arrests which took place in hundreds of protests organized in more than 80 major cities in two-thirds of the country’s states; at the same time, many complaints of international organizations report unprecedented militarized methods of repression, while police forces have been using heavy-duty riot gear and military-grade weapons which also include batons, tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets on protesters, bystanders or even journalists. Moreover, among the thousands of complaints regarding police departments’ conduct over the last days, it has even been reported that in New York some police officers drove their cars into the gathered protesters.
This unprecedented ferocity and brutal violence employed by the US repressive forces constitute a provocation against the international trade union movement affiliated to the WFTU; it is also a manifest breach of any notion of civil rights and democratic freedoms as the latter have been ratified and recognized through international conventions.
In this regard, the WFTU expresses its deep concern over the need to protect workers who protest, as well as over the violation of the US people right to assemble, hold public meetings and demonstrate, especially by taking into account many decisions of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association as well as many milestone international documents, such as the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The WFTU calls upon the International Organizations to take direct action and initiatives in order to investigate phenomena of racist violence, repression against US workers and to substantially investigate the complaints of police arbitrariness. For our part, we pledge to internationalize the issue and to undertake any necessary initiative at institutional level in order to protect the life, health and the workers’ rights.
The WFTU Secretariat