Pope says racism 'intolerable', in reaction to Floyd killing

Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience after giving a message to people of the United States, honouring George Floyd and saying "no one can turn a blind eye to racism" image taken from video at Vatican, June 3, 2020. (REUTERS Photo)

said on Wednesday "we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism", in reaction to the killing of a black man by US police that has sparked nationwide protests.

But the pontiff also condemned the violence that followed 's death in the city of Minneapolis last week as "self-destructive and self-defeating".

"Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost," Francis said.

Floyd, 46, an unarmed African-American man, suffocated as a white police officer kneeled on his neck, sparking once-in-a-generation demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality.

The pope said he was praying for Floyd and "all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism".

Protests have been held in cities across the country, mostly peaceful but many descending into mayhem.

Both activists and officials have blamed rabble-rousers for the trouble and thousands of people have been arrested.

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