Mourners wait in line near the casket of George Floyd to pay their final respects during a public viewing at the Fountain of Praise church on Monday in Houston. (AFP)
By Seema Hakhu Kachru :
OVER 5,000 mourners from across the US, wearing face masks and gloves, lined up outside a church here to pay their final respects to African-American George Floyd, whose custodial killing stoked widespread protests in America and other countries over racial injustice. Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25 after white police officer Derek Chauvin handcuffed and pinned him to the ground, and knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes while the 46-year-old from Houston gasped for breath. The footage, which went viral, showed Floyd pleading with the officer, saying he can’t breathe. The four police officers seen in the footage have since been charged.
Floyd’s death has sparked nationwide violent protests with some protesters resorting to looting and rioting across the country, leaving behind a trail of destruction. His body arrived in Houston late on Saturday for funeral service and burial is scheduled for Tuesday amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The six-hour-long public viewing for Floyd, which got underway at noon till 6 pm, attracted over 5,000 mourners in the record heat. The mourners, wearing face masks and gloves, lined up to usher in to walk toward Floyd’s golden casket for a brief moment to pay their respects.
Due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, visitors were greeted with a temperature check at the door and a hand-sanitiser station before entering the main room for Floyd’s viewing. They also went through a metal detector upon entry. Floyd, lying in state at the front of the church auditorium, was dressed in a tan suit and multi-coloured tie in a gold-coloured casket. Guests stood on circular floor markers spaced 6 feet apart as they waited their turn to pay their respects. Former professional boxer Floyd Mayweather handled all expenses for the funeral services, the report said. Floyd’s funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, followed by the burial at the Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery in Pearland, where he will be laid to rest next to his mother Larcenia Floyd.