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President Obama urges US to ‘reject despair’

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a memorial service following the multiple police shootings in Dallas, Texas. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri.

President Obama urges US to ‘reject despair’

President Barack Obama has sought to unite a nation feeling divided by race politics and fear, as he paid tribute to five police officers killed during a sniper attack in Dallas.

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

Consoling a nation after a violent attack has become familiar ground for Obama.

“I’m not naive,” Obama said. “I’ve spoken at too many memorials during the course of this presidency. I’ve hugged too many families that lost a loved one to senseless violence.”

His trip came amid mounting racial tensions across the country with protests over excessive police force against black Americans held in cities across the US.

Obama said Americans needed to look at their own actions.

“We ask police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves,” Obama said during his 40-minute remarks.

He said, however, Americans must unite.

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

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

Ex-President George W Bush, a Texan, 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.”

 

 

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