Anti-eviction protests in the US state of New Orleans may be the first instance of mass anti-eviction protests that could further destabilise the US.
Unemployment payments to millions of Americans that have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic expired at the end of July. Federal rent freezes and moratoriums will also expire and almost half the country may find themselves homeless in the near future. And although some individual states have already passed legislation to extend unemployment benefits and rent freezes, there are still millions of Americans that are vulnerable to the ongoing economic crisis.
Starting with protests in New Orleans on Thursday, as reported by VICE, people chained themselves around entrances to court houses to prevent landlords from submitting eviction orders as part of a trend of protests in the US against the government’s poor response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Legislative action, thus far, has resulted in trillion dollar payouts to big corporations and an afterthought 4 months worth of $600 per month payments to unemployed Americans.
As a result, similar anti-eviction protests have been taking place throughout the United States in places like Kansas, Louisiana, Texas and other parts of the country where there are no protections in place to protect people from being kicked out of their homes.
The protests follow a wave of anti-racism protests that arose throughout America, following the death of George Floyd. The #BlackLivesMatter protests resulted in hard-handed response by police and federal officers, which has caused many to deem the United States as a soon-to-be police state. And, considering Donald Trump’s tweets that suggest he may want to delay the November presidential elections, it is no wonder that many believe America’s long-standing democracy could be under imminent threat.
The anti-eviction protests in the US, along with widening economic disparities and almost militant partisanship among its citizens, paints an ugly picture of America in 2020 and many should be worried about the long-term consequences that will extend far beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.