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Mayors and Governors Must Protect People from Armed Groups, Denounce White Supremacy

    January 13, 2021

    In response to the events of last week and in anticipation of more gatherings by white supremacists ahead of the inauguration, Amnesty International USA has sent a letter to 3,500 United States mayors and governors calling on them to protect people from armed groups and to denounce white supremacy.

    Amnesty International USA has documented how racism, discrimination, and hate can lead to widespread violence and disregard for human rights  across the world for almost 60 years. In the United States, the lack of restriction on guns, combined with the embrace of white supremacists by the President and other government officials, continues to put the country at risk of further violence. Mayors and governors must take action now in order to keep their communities safe.

    Amnesty International USA’s calls to mayors and governors include:

    • Publicly condemn and demand accountability for incitement to violence and the enabling and abetting of white supremacy at the highest levels of government, including by President Trump and other government officials
    • Publicly condemn armed groups and individuals as a threat to public safety and human rights, and speak out against white supremacy, discrimination, xenophobic rhetoric and incitement to violence by such groups and individuals
    • Issue executive orders, emergency orders, or other temporary special measures to prevent armed white supremacist individuals or groups from intimidating or threatening people
    • Temporarily prohibit the open and concealed carry of firearms in Capitol buildings and in public, including parks, recreational areas, religious institutions, and schools
    • Direct police departments to adopt and follow Amnesty International’s best practices on the policing of demonstrations, and ensure that all law enforcement agencies facilitate freedom of peaceful assembly, without discrimination, particularly in the context of volatile counter-protest situations, with commitments to ensuring transparent investigation and prosecution of unlawful use of force, and vigilantism by armed groups

    Background and Context

    Amnesty International USA is monitoring the situation and is deeply troubled by what is occurring in the country. The organization is calling on the mayors and governors to denounce white supremacists, prohibit firearms in Capitol Buildings and public spaces, and take special measures to keep communities safe from violence and armed intimidation by white supremacists.