USA: Washington D.C. protesters demand rent cancellation amid COVID-19 unemployment

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Activists hit the streets of Washington D.C. on Saturday noon, demanding the cancelling of the rents due to the financial implications of coronavirus and justice for George Floyd.

The rally was first called to address the rent issue amid the coronavirus crisis and the impact on working class people who cannot pay the rent. Protesters ask the rent to be cancelled until the pandemic is over and people can go back to work.

Brian Becker, Coalition Coordinator activist, said “50 million Americans are out of work. 41 million applied for unemployment insurance. So this is a demand and it’s an absolute imperative. 40 percent of Americans can’t pay their rent or mortgage.”

Cancel the rents activist Nicole Roussell said the people who have been hit hardest by this pandemic, “not only in health care ways,” including the “majority” of coronavirus deaths had come from “coloured and specifically black Americans.”

The activists weren’t only calling to cancel the rents and cancel the mortgages but were “also to be in solidarity and call for justice and racist police terror as part of this nationwide effort,” according to Party for Socialism and Liberation activist Sean Blackmon.

“We’re demanding cancelling the rent, we are also demanding full justice for George Floyd. The fact that the cop that killed him was charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder is a joke,” Brian Becker, Coordinator with Coalition added.

The protest ended up in a rally in front of the second district of Washington Police Department in southeast DC, where protesters gathered outside the building holding signs reading “the biggest weapon is to stay peaceful” or “Rest in peace George Floyd.”

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