Australian Lawmaker Slams George Floyd as ‘a Criminal and a Dangerous Thug’
Senator Pauline Hanson says he 'has been in and out of prison numerous times'
A top Australian lawmaker has slammed George Floyd as "a criminal and a dangerous thug," arguing that he should not be seen as "a martyr."
Speaking on Australia's Senate floor on Wednesday, Senator Pauline Hanson, leader of the One Nation Party, condemned the protests across the country that were sparked by the death of Floyd.
Hanson denounced the Black Lives Matter protests and the celebration of Mr. Floyd, who died in the custody of Minneapolis, Minnesota police.
"George Floyd had been made out to be a martyr," Sen. Hanson told the Senate.
"This man has been in and out of prison numerous times.
"He was a criminal and a dangerous thug."
Floyd's death sparked protests against racism and police brutality across many parts of the world, including Australia where 60,000 people joined demonstrations across Australian cities last weekend.
"It sickened me to see people holding up signs saying 'black lives matter' in memory of this American criminal," Hanson said.
"I'm sorry, but all lives matter... we cannot allow bleeding hearts and those on the left to destroy the fabric of our society and our freedom.
"No one could possibly condone the way in which George Floyd died.
"But what upsets me is the attitude of many people - black and white."
Hanson expressed her anger that Australians didn't show the same outrage at the death of Justine Damond - a white Australian woman who was shot dead by a black officer, also in Minneapolis, in 2017.
"There was no protest, no one really cared because she was white," Hanson said.
Sen. Hanson said politicians should "hang their heads in shame" for not speaking up about the health risks of the protests, which defied ongoing warnings for people not to gather in large groups due to the risk of spreading coronavirus.
"It's a grave insult to all law-abiding Australians," she said.
"These activists should never have been allowed to march and call Australians racist.
"Shame on the politicians who were too gutless and too scared of losing votes to stand up to the mob.
"People are furious and I don't blame them.
"They want to know how this happened when our pubs, clubs, and gyms and businesses are still crippled by the full force of COVID-19 restrictions."
Sen. Hanson's statement prompted a backlash from some commenters on her Facebook page.
"The more you open your mouth the more you reinforce your racist tag," commenter Ken Johnson said.
"Give us a rest for heavens sake."
"Don't speak for me when you say all Australians," Steven Olive added.
"Nobody protested when Justine Damond was killed because her killer was immediately arrested, charged, & convicted," Mike King wrote, despite all four cops involved in Floyd's death being arrested and charged.
The Australian protests linked the death of Mr. Floyd to indigenous deaths in custody.
At least 432 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have died in police custody in Australia since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody report in 1991.