UK markets close in 5 hours 20 minutes

German foreign minister: Trump is “pouring oil on the fire” with threat to deploy US military

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
03 June 2020, Berlin: German foreign minister Heiko Maas gives a press statement as the German government prepares to end the travel warning for tourists from 15 June for 31 European countries. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/dpa picture alliance via Getty Images

Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas criticised Donald Trump’s threat to deploy the military to quash ongoing protests over the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd by the police, accusing the US president of “pouring oil on the fire.”

"Instead of pouring oil on the fire, we must make reconciliation,“ Maas told Der Spiegel magazine. “Instead of letting ourselves be divided, we should be united against the radical extremists."

German chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said at the regular government press conference in Berlin on Wednesday that George Floyd’s death is “an avoidable death, that shocked us."

Seibert said that the German government hopes that the violence in the US will end soon, adding that the US was a lively democracy, and that there had been also numerous peaceful demonstrations against racism and police violence.

Trump on Monday said that mayors and governors should call in the national guard to quell the protestors, if that if they did not he would deploy the United States military and “quickly solve the problem for them.”

Protests continued for the eighth night in a row in the cities across the US on Tuesday night.

READ MORE: US ambassador to Germany steps down after two years in Berlin

Maas said that the threat of violence only triggers further violence.

He tweeted on Wednesday morning that the words of Martin Luther King — “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”— remain relevant. He added that: “Democrats must not escalate things, not even through words.”

European Parliament vice president Katarina Barley also slammed Trump’s handling of the protests. She tweeted: “They were very concerns at Trump's election as US President. And yet not big enough. Now he is bringing the country to the brink of a civil war. Now is the time for the brave and decent to speak out. Hopefully it's not too late.”

This article has been updated to include comments from the German federal government spokesperson.