Dallas shooting: Obama urges US to ‘reject despair’

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President Barack Obama has urged the US to “reject despair” as he paid tribute to five police officers killed by a gunman in Dallas.

He told a memorial service in the city the US must “try to find some meaning amidst our sorrow” and could unite.

His trip came amid mounting racial tensions across the country.

Micah Johnson killed the Dallas officers at a protest held over the recent police shootings of African-Americans in Minnesota and Louisiana.

Before he was killed by police, he said he was angry about the shootings.

Meanwhile, protests over excessive police force against black Americans have been held in cities across the US.

But speaking at Morton H Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas on Tuesday, Mr Obama urged the country not to despair.

Americans were struggling with what had happened in the past week, he said, and events appeared to have revealed “the deepest fault line of our democracy”.

“I’m here to say we must reject such despair. I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem.”

He honoured the bravery of police officers and said fewer people were being mourned at the service because of the courage of the officers killed.


The service featured five portraits of the officers and five empty chairs.

Ex-President George W Bush, a former Texas governor, praised the police: “Their courage is our protection and shield.”

And Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who spoke first, said: “The soul of our city was pierced.”

First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, will also hold a private meeting with the families of the victims on Wednesday.

Pictures of the five fallen officersImage copyrightAP
Image captionPictures of the five fallen officers were central to the service
Barack Obama hugs Police Chief David BrownImage copyrightEUROPEAN PHOTOPRESS AGENCY
Image captionPolice Chief David Brown received a standing ovation when he was introduced
George W BushImage copyrightAFP
Image captionGeorge W Bush praised the courage of the police
Supporters participate in the Dallas Strong Candlelight Vigil in TexasImage copyrightEPA
Image captionThe city held a candlelight vigil to remember the slain officers

The US has been on edge in the wake of the recent string of violence, roiled by protests over police reform and race relations.

And Mr Obama has been criticised for not doing enough to support the police, many of whom say they feel under attack because of the protests and criticism.

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