Five people have been shot and injured at a Black Lives Matter protest in Minnesota in an attack that activists claim was racially motivated.

The Minneapolis police department said officers responded to reports of a shooting at 10.30pm on Monday evening where a protest against the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a policeman last year was taking place.

While police confirmed on Tuesday that they were looking for three white males in connection with the attack, a Black Lives Matter spokeswoman claimed that the men were white supremacists.

In a month which has been punctuated by fear-mongering from right-wing politicians over the threat posed by refugees following the attack in Paris, many in the US have pointed out that perhaps the country needs to have a re-think over who poses the bigger threat.

While police are yet to confirm the identity or motive of the attackers, witnesses reported seeing between three and four white people hiding their faces with masks, wearing bulletproof vests and bearing weapons.

Which, as many have pointed out on social media, does sound quite similar to the events in Paris:

Miski Noor, a media contact for Black Lives Matter, told the Star Tribune that "a group of white supremacists showed up at the protest" and when they were asked to move on they "opened fire on about six protesters".

Subsequently, the use of the word "terrorist" has been noticeable in social media coverage:

Which has led many to question how we define the term:

The Minneapolis City Pages reported at the tail-end of last week that white supremacists had threatened protesters, with a video appearing to show two masked men in a car saying they were heading down to "see what these dindus (a derogatory word) are up to" while brandishing a loaded gun.

Following Monday night's attack, the family of Jamar Clark, the black man shot last year, called for the protest to be cancelled "out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers".

As journalist Jamil Smith so aptly put it on the New Republic:

It is an understandable reaction, since this is what terrorism looks like. This is the function that it performs. Remember that as we are warned not to travel abroad and told to fear Syrian refugees more than our white American neighbours with guns and a grievance.

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)