The farewell to Congressman and civil rights campaigner John Lewis took place on Thursday in Atlanta.
Former US leader Barack Obama on Thursday lashed out with the sharpest criticism of the current President Donald Trump, condemning the use of Federal agents against protesters and attempts to suppress the voting rights of Americans.
“Today we see with our own eyes how police officers kneel on the neck of black Americans,” Obama said, delivering an emotional speech at the funeral of human rights activist and Congressman John Lewis in Atlanta.
“We can see our Federal government sending agents using tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators,” the former President said.
Obama did not mention Trump by name, but he was clearly referring to the actions of the Republican President. Obama also criticized alleged Republican attempts to suppress minority voting rights and Trump’s repeated attacks on mail-in voting in the November presidential election.
“Those in power are doing everything they can to dissuade people from voting by closing polling stations and imposing restrictive ID laws that violate the rights of minorities and students, as well as attacking the rights of voters with surgical precision, calling into question the postal service in preparation for elections whose results will depend on postal voting, which is introduced in order to prevent infection of people,” Obama said.
Paying tribute to Lewis, who died on July 17 at the age of 80, Obama said the Congressman’s fight for African-American civil rights paved the way for Barack Obama to become America’s first black President.
Lewis, a member of the House of Representatives from Georgia, did “everything he could to preserve this democracy, and as long as we are alive, we must continue his cause,” Obama said.
“While young people are protesting in the streets in the hope of real change, I hope so,” the former President said.
Former presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also attended Lewis ‘ funeral.
Former President Jimmy Carter was unable to come to say goodbye to Lewis but sent a letter that was read out during a funeral ceremony held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. served as a pastor in the 1960s.