Zimbabwe has summoned the U.S. ambassador in Harare following comments made by a White House official suggesting the Southern African country is among “foreign adversaries” that could face retaliation for trying to incite unrest in the U.S. over the death of George Floyd, the black man who died in Minneapolis after police knelt on his neck for several minutes during an arrest.
The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols, met with Zimbabwe’s foreign minister over comments on Sunday by U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien.
O’Brien in an interview with ABC News mentioned the Southern African country alongside China and Russia as possible instigators of the U.S. protests which have taken place for days now.
He said the countries were taking advantage of the protests to “sow discord and to try and damage our democracy.”
Floyd died on Monday after a white police officer arrested him.
An onlooker’s cell phone recorded the incident showing the 46-year-old black man moaning, “Please, I can’t breathe” and “Don’t kill me” as the police officer pressed his knee onto Floyd’s neck. However, the video didn’t show how the confrontation started.
After several minutes of the police office pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, the victim went silent and was later pronounced dead.
The video quickly went viral on social media, sparking widespread protest from Tuesday afternoon.
Following his meeting with Zimbabwe’s foreign minister, the U.S ambassador issued a statement Monday saying he used the occasion to ask Zimbabwe to end state-sponsored violence against activists, citing recent abductions of opposition officials.