More than 10 days after unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, protesters continue to march through the streets demanding justice for the 18-year-old.
As newspapers around the world cover the crisis, editorial boards have weighed in to reflect on the shooting. Many have published editorials that frame the events in the St. Louis suburb as evidence of a lingering racial divide in the United States.
French newspaper Le Monde sees the protests and violence in Ferguson as "a cruel metaphor for contemporary America, for its tensions, its ruptures and its old demons."
The paper connects the death of Michael Brown to the killing of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teen who was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in 2012. Both cases reveal the persistence of racial divisions and social inequality in the Unites States, the newspaper argues, and highlight the perception of many in America's black communities that they are disproportionally targeted by police.
"The Michael Brown affair reminds us of the long road that remains ahead to abolish the racial barrier that still divides the U.S," Le Monde says.
British newspaper The Guardian also connects the recent shooting to the Trayvon Martin case, saying that Michael Brown is one in a long list of victims of racial prejudice. "Such things do not happen, by and large, to unarmed young white men," the newspaper writes.
The Guardian’s editorial board also says that while race relations in the United States have radically improved since the Alabama bus boycott in the 1950s, millions of people are still left behind. "For all the progress on civil rights, America’s racial wounds are still open," it concludes.
Also in the U.K., The Independent says the protests in Ferguson were an "explosion waiting to happen," pointing to a disproportionate number of arrests of young black men in the city and an underrepresentation of blacks in Ferguson’s police force. "As Martin Luther King also observed, 'a riot is the language of the unheard,'" the paper writes.
Spanish newspaper El Pais argues that the crisis in Ferguson is far from unique. "This situation, with variations, is repeated unequally across the geography of the USA," it says.
The United States has shown that it can be the most powerful country in the world and one of the largest democracies with a multiracial society, based on immigration and a legal system that guarantees full equality of its citizens. But outbursts like Ferguson show that much remains to be done and that if problems are ignored they don’t disappear, but tend to increase, sometimes disproportionately.
Left-leaning Mexican newspaper La Jornada addresses what it perceives as persistent racial discrimination in the United States and faults U.S. President Barack Obama for not acting on the issue early in his first term.
"Although our neighboring country abolished segregationist laws that prevailed until after the middle of the 20th century, the U.S. remains structurally a racist society," the paper writes. "This is reflected not only in the political and institutional underrepresentation of minorities, but also in labor, police and judicial practices."
La Jornada also slammed the attitude of Ferguson's authorities, pointing specifically to its security forces. "Far from acting with transparency, prudence and sensitivity," it writes, "local authorities have tried to cover up the alleged murder of Brown and have tolerated further police excesses in suppressing the protests."
The Chinese government's official news agency Xinhua used the crisis in Ferguson as an opportunity to chastise the United States for violating human rights domestically while accusing foreign governments of infringing on people's rights.
"The Ferguson incident once again demonstrates that even if in a country that has for years tried to play the role of an international human rights judge and defender, there is still much room for improvement at home," says Xinhua writer Li Li.