US Mayors sign letter for immediate withdrawal of federal forces
Washington, July 21 (IANS) Mayors of several US cities have signed a letter urging the federal government to immediately withdraw its forces and halt their “unilateral deployment” amid ongoing protests against police brutality.
In the letter published on Twitter on Monday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, along with his five counterparts in Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Kansas City, said unilateral federal intervention is unacceptable and “violates fundamental constitutional protections and tenets of federalism”, reports Xinhua news agency
“In Portland, their actions have escalated events and increased the risk of violence against both civilians and local law enforcement officers,” Wheeler said, listing the troops' violent acts, including shootings, against peaceful protests in the city.
The death of African-American George Floyd in May has sparked nationwide protests, and Portland has witnessed nightly demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism.
In June, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to protect monuments and statues from protests as well as combat criminal activities.
In response, the Department of Homeland Security sent federal law enforcement officers to Portland to help the city restore order.
However, the role played by the federal troops stationed in the city was largely questioned and criticized.
As the US is facing unprecedented challenges such as the raging COVID-19 pandemic, economic devastation and civil rights movement, Mayors “need help of our federal government” instead of irresponsible actions that threaten safety and progress in the society, the letter added.
In a CNN interview on Sunday, Wheeler reiterated his call for the federal troops to leave.
“They're not wanted here. We haven't asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave,” he said.