Chris McGreal in Minneapolis,
David Smith in Washington,
Richard Luscombe in Miami,
Sam Levin in Los Angeles and
Julia Carrie Wong in Oakland
Cities across the US were on Sunday bracing for another wave of protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, after demonstrations and violence spread across the country.
Amid rising anger and frustration at the repeated failure of America’s policing system to address large numbers of deaths of unarmed African American men at the hands of police officers, mayors of major cities imposed curfews and governors of six states called in the national guard.
On Saturday night, from Los Angeles and Washington to Atlanta, such measures did little to deter demonstrators.
In Minneapolis, where the protests began after video emerged of a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, the police and national guard engaged in running battles with demonstrators following two nights of looting and arson in the southern area of the city where Floyd died.
Protesters’ demands have included the arrest of three other officers alongside Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.
On Sunday Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison told NBC’s Meet the Press the charges against Chauvin could be increased and that the three other officers involved were “not out of the woods”.
Protesters clashed with police on Saturday in cities including New York. Near Union Square, in the heart of Manhattan, a police vehicle was on fire, sending plumes of black smoke into the air. In Brooklyn, protesters and police clashed for hours. In Los Angeles, a police post was burned in a mall while shops were looted. In Nashville, Tennessee, a historic courthouse was set on fire. In Salt Lake City, Utah, vehicles were burned.
In Minneapolis, authorities determined to force compliance with the curfew and prevent a repeat of the looting and arson that damaged stores along a more than two-mile stretch of Lake Street, a thoroughfare of mostly locally owned businesses.
“When we see people setting our buildings and our businesses ablaze, we know those are not people who are interested in protecting black lives,” she told ABC’s This Week. But she said people were also fearful of the presence of police and national guard troops.
“What we are trying to do is try to figure out something between extreme aggression and ways to figure out how to not get our city burned down. And it’s a challenge,” she said.
“We are living in a country that has a two-tiered justice system and people are … sick and tired of being sick and tired. And we need to really step back and say to ourselves, where do we actually go from here? And that can’t just be getting justice for George Floyd. It needs to be bigger than that.”
State police used tear gas, flash grenades and baton rounds to break up a peaceful protest of several hundred people outside a police station, near the scene of some of the worst of the earlier violence.
The demonstrators attempted to march along Lake Street but were dispersed into residential neighbourhoods where officers pursued and fired baton rounds at both protesters and residents who set up barricades. By the early hours of Sunday officials said they had stopped the violence. There had been little looting and burning.
In Washington, hundreds of protesters clashed with the Secret Service and police for a second night. On Saturday evening they broke through barriers near the White House but were driven back by police wielding shields, batons and pepper spray. Dumpsters and a car were set on fire, and windows of some businesses smashed.
Donald Trump has done little to calm the situation. He labelled the protesters “anarchists” and claimed, without evidence, that political opponents were orchestrating the violence.
“The memory of George Floyd is being dishonoured by rioters, looters and anarchists,” Trump said. “The violence and vandalism is being led by Antifa and other radical leftwing groups who are terrorising the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses and burning down buildings.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged people to “ignore” the president, who she accused of “fuelling the flame”.
“To take his bait time and time again is just a gift to him because he always wants to divert attention from what the cause of the response was rather than to describe it in his own terms, sadly,” she told ABC.
“It was so fast,” he told MSNBC. “He didn’t give me the opportunity to even speak. It was hard. I was trying to talk to him but he just kept like pushing me off like, ‘I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about.’”
In Los Angeles, a protest started out peacefully in Pan Pacific Park before small groups set police cars on fire and police fired rubber bullets in return. After the 8pm curfew but before darkness fell, Mayor Eric Garcetti asked the governor to send up to 700 members of the national guard.
In Atlanta, where three officers were injured and 71 people arrested early on Saturday, up to 1,500 national guard troops were deployed at the order of the Georgia governor, Brian Kemp.
Social media showed flames and black smoke billowing from a fire in downtown Philadelphia, where a peaceful protest ended with cars set ablaze. In Chicago, law enforcement vehicles came under attack.
George Floyd original video,Black Lives Matter
World news – ZA – George Floyd: US cities brace for new protests after another night of violence
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