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A protester sits in front of the Lincoln Memorial during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington D.C., the United States, on June 1, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

The ongoing demonstrations are also signs of frustration and despair of the African American community and other minority groups ravaged by the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, said Turkish political commentator Deniz Zeyrek.

ISTANBUL, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The death of George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody last week, highlights the racial discrimination in the United States, a Turkish expert has said.

Noting that U.S. President Donald Trump's frequent use of "racist narratives during his speeches or on Twitter" has emboldened extremist groups, Deniz Zeyrek, a political commentator, said that "American racist grassroots are acting now with more audacity than before."

Demonstrations and violence have spread to dozens of U.S. cities after a video went viral of Floyd being suffocated to death by a white police officer in the mid-western U.S. state of Minnesota on May 25.

People hold placards during a protest over the death of George Floyd in the city of Mountain View, San Francisco Bay Area, California, the United States, May 31, 2020. (Photo by Dong Xudong/Xinhua)

Zeyrek, who is also a well-known columnist in Turkey, said the ongoing demonstrations are also signs of frustration and despair of the African American community and other minority groups ravaged by the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, which has claimed the lives of 106,000 Americans and cost the country 40 million jobs.

"Trump managed the pandemic with incompetence in what is seen as a very bad management of the crisis, therefore people are angry at its administration," he said.

Minority groups in the United States are bearing more burdens but getting less attention, said Zeyrek, noting that African Americans or Latinos have suffered higher mortality rate of COVID-19 than white Americans.

Demonstrators protest against police brutality on Union Square in Manhattan of New York, the United States, May 31, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

Calling protesters in Minneapolis "thugs" and vowing that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," Trump is weaponizing racial discrimination for his own gains, as he is seeking re-election this year, said Zeyrek.

He noted that the anger of demonstrators is not only about the situation of African Americans or the death of Floyd, but about the whole social problems in the United States plagued by the health crisis.

"Demonstrators, which are not only black, but from all segments of the society, are saying that it has become impossible to live in the country ... where the police are terrorizing the people", he said. ■

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