Racial tension continues ahead of Obama’s Dallas trip

WASHINGTON: Racial tension following police violence against African-Americans continued ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to Dallas, where five police officers were gunned down last week.

Obama is scheduled to travel to Dallas where he will pay tribute to the five officers killed during a “Black Lives Matter” protest on July 7, together with his wife, Michelle; Vice President Joe Biden and former US President George W. Bush.

“Last week was a tough week for our country,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest in his daily press briefing on Monday, adding that the government wants to “ensure that the rights of all citizens are protected, and law enforcement officials, who have a very dangerous job, are also protected.”

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 52 people were arrested on Sunday evening in a new day of protests against police violence because of the killing by police of an African-American resident of the city in an incident on July 5.

In many other cities across the US similar demonstrations occurred after the events of last week with the cases of Baton Rouge and Minnesota, where another African-American man died in a shooting by a policeman, and the killings of Dallas.

The Dallas shooting is the deadliest attack for police officers since September 11, 2011.

On Wednesday, President Obama will host a meeting at the White House with representatives of civil rights leaders and law enforcement officials to address the violence in the country.

Obama said that it is possible to “honour the incredible courage and service” of the police and also “recognise the racial disparities” in the criminal justice system.

“There’s no contradiction there. And if we are going to come together to solve these problems, we have to understand that. So we’ll have to talk to each other. We’ll have to listen to each other. And we’ll have to see each other as equal parts of the American family,” Obama added.