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World In Washington, a National Day marked by the disunity of the Americans

03:25  05 july  2020
03:25  05 july  2020 Source:   ouest-france.fr

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Une femme patiente face au Washington Monument avant la manifestation antiracistes, le 4 juillet 2020. © ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP A patient woman in front of the Washington Monument before the anti-racism demonstration, on July 4, 2020.

In Washington, the American National Day was marked on Saturday by disunity. Anti-racism protests took place across the federal capital pending President Trump's "Homage to America" ​​that evening.

At 's cries of "black lives matter" , anti-racist protesters walk up the avenue bordering the White House and verbally abuse an activist holding a support sign for Donald Trump . A few hundred yards from the lawn of the White House where the American president is to deliver an evening speech, two camps are opposed and seem irreconcilable on this day which celebrates the independence and the unity of the country.

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"We should celebrate our unity"

To avoid clashes, an imposing police device was installed around the presidential precinct, which looks like an entrenched camp. "We should celebrate our unity, our diversity and our freedom, we should not consider ourselves as enemies ready to wage war" , says AFP Kristy Pandora Graczowski, the transgender activist pro-Trump targets invective of protesters.

They finally continue on to "Black Lives Matter Plaza" , a stretch of street that has become the epicenter of protest in the American capital.

Because for more than a month and the death of an African-American killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis , the United States has been the scene of a historic movement of anger against racism , for the justice and racial equality.

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The demonstrations have succeeded one another and have revived the sensitive debate on the legacy of the country's slavery past. But the Republican billionaire, far from advocating national reconciliation, accused the "radical" demonstrators of wanting to "erase" American history.

On the other side of the avenue, Jennifer Friend expresses her grief by attending the confrontation. "It’s a lack of respect for the president, he is attacked from all sides" , explains this 53-year-old tourist who came from Florida on July 4. "All lives matter" , she explains, using the anti-racist slogan, "but the demonstrators choose what they want to protest against, it is hypocrisy" .

- "An honor"

His friend, Bill Young, is worried about losing some of his freedom of expression in front of these demonstrators. "If you have a contrary opinion, you are a racist" , he laments. For him, it’s the height of this special day for America. "The reason for being here today is that Britain said 'do this' and we said 'no'" .

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Washington National Cathedral—officially the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul—has them all, as well as a 53-bell carillon, nine chapels, hundreds of stained-glass windows, thousands of works of needlepoint, the area’s largest pipe organ, and stone carvings too numerous to count.

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Farther away, on the National Mall crushed by the sun where the traditional fireworks display is planned after dark, supporters and opponents of the president meet, look at each other, and sometimes insult each other.

Katima McMillan, 24, came from Kentucky with a group of activists. On the lawn, they displayed the bands of the three colors of Pan-Africanism, red for the blood shed, black for the people and culture of the continent, and green for nature. "We want to let the world know, and not just in the United States, that we are worth no less than the others" , says the young African-American.

Coming with her two sons, Mary Byrne, 54, says she is worried about "the antagonism" that currently reigns. "We are no longer talking, we are yelling at each other" , she explains, saying that the United States must carry out a self-examination "honest" on the extent of racism in the country.

Others refuse to let their national holiday be spoiled. Wayne and Lynnis, a couple from neighboring Maryland, are among the handpicked guests to attend President Trump's "Tribute to America" ​​. "I am very excited" , says Lynnis, 56. "No matter who the president is, it's an honor to go to the White House" , she says with a smile.

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