Black Lives Matter has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of what the nominator said was BLM’s impact in raising awareness of racism worldwide.
Despite a turbulent summer in the United States following the death of George Floyd, which saw some BLM protests splinter into violent confrontation, the group was praised for forcing important conversations.
Petter Eide, the Norwegian parliamentarian who nominated BLM, dismissed questions about violence carried out in the movement’s name.
‘Of course there have been incidents, but most of them have been caused by the activities of either the police or counter-protestors,’ he said.
The Black Lives Matter movement has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize
A man raises his first during the “Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” protest against racism and police brutality on August 28. BLM was praised for raising awareness
Norwegian politician Petter Eide nominated BLM for the accolade, awarded in October
An aerial view of a Black Lives Matter mural on East Pine Street in Seattle, seen on June 14
More than 90 per cent of BLM demonstrations involved no serious harm to people or property, according to data assembled by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project in September 2020.
Yet ugly scenes erupted this summer after Floyd’s May 25 killing, as BLM protesters took to the streets.
From Portland to Minneapolis to Kenosha, Washington DC and New York, demonstrators would clash with police once the sun went down and the main marches had disbanded.
Groups of delinquents took advantage of the unrest to loot shops and set fire to businesses and buildings in acts which were condemned by many within the movement.
Donald Trump and his supporters were swift to label BLM rioters.
‘The stated goal of BLM people is to achieve the destruction of the nuclear family, abolish the police, abolish prisons, abolish border security, abolish capitalism and abolish school choice,’ said Trump on September 25, in a dramatic distortion of the group’s main aims.
Protests over the killing of Breonna Taylor are seen in Louisville, Kentucky
A BLM protest is pictured on May 30 in Los Angeles after the May 25 killing of George Floyd
The majority of the protests were peaceful but some, such as this in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sept 21, ended in a confrontation between police and demonstrators
Looters in New York City are seen ransacking a store after a June 1 BLM protest
Demonstrators raise their fists as a fire burns in the street in Seattle on June 8
A BLM supporter fights with a Trump supporter at Civic Center Park in Kenosha on Sept 1
Riot police are seen confronting protesters near the White House on June 1
BLM was founded in 2013, in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman.
It has since grown into a loosely-structured international movement.
Eide said BLM leaders should be praised for their work in raising awareness of racism.
‘I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality,’ Eide said in his nominating statement, obtained by The Guardian.
‘Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice.
‘They have had a tremendous achievement in raising global awareness and consciousness about racial injustice.’
Riots broke out in Minneapolis (pictured on May 29) following Floyd’s killing
In Portland, police are pictured confronting demonstrators on July 20
Eide, 61, who has previously nominated human rights activists from Russia and China for the prize, said he appreciated how BLM ‘have been able to mobilize people from all groups of society, not just African-Americans, not just oppressed people, it has been a broad movement, in a way which has been different from their predecessors.’
His written nomination concludes: ‘Awarding the peace prize to Black Lives Matter, as the strongest global force against racial injustice, will send a powerful message that peace is founded on equality, solidarity and human rights, and that all countries must respect those basic principles.’
There are few barriers to being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize: actually winning is a far tougher challenge.
Any member of parliament of government or university professor, plus directors of foreign policy institutes, past recipients of a Nobel Prize and members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee can nominate a person or organization.
The nominations require no invitation and as long they are entered before February 1 of the qualifying year, they will be accepted.
Last year 318 nominations were made, and the prize was won by the World Food Program.
Trump was nominated in 2018 and again this year – both times by far-Right Norwegian politician Christian Tybring-Gjedde.
The award’s most famous recipients include Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa, but the broad criteria for nominations means that past nominees have included some controversial selections.
Adolf Hitler was nominated for the peace prize in 1939 by a member of the Swedish parliament. Reportedly submitted in satire, the nomination was withdrawn soon after.
A few years later, the Soviet leader Josef Stalin was nominated for the same award, twice: once in 1945, for his efforts ending World War Two, and again in 1948.
After nominations are submitted, the recipient is selected by a five-person Nobel Committee, which is appointed by the Norwegian Parliament.
The winner of the 2021 prize will not be announced until October.