Crime & Justice

George Floyd protests swell across US as rage against racism rises

Washington, June 6 (efe-epa).- Protests sparked by the alleged police killing of African-American man George Floyd appeared to have turned into a nationwide movement on Saturday as cities and towns across the United States saw an unprecedented outpouring of demonstrators demanding an end to racism.

Thousands of supporters of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, denouncing the alleged systemic racism in the US law enforcement, filled the streets of the big US cities of New York, Seattle, Washington, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and other smaller towns of Vidor in Texas, Havre in Montana, and Marion in Ohio.

In New York, loud slogans like “Whose streets? Our streets” rented the air for hours as crowds streamed into Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, gathered near Central Park in Manhattan and Washington Square Park amid a downpour.

After the peaceful marches, some 20,000 people crossed the Brooklyn Bridge from Army Plaza to take part in different protests in Manhattan until the curfew that began at 8 pm local time (24:00 GMT).

Some 5,000 people filled Washington Square, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, to listen to speeches by activists, denouncing police brutality and demanding police reforms.

At nightfall, police fenced the plaza and urged protesters to leave.

“The police have always repressed and repressed the poor and working class. All people can do is go outside,” said protester Harlem activist Juan Peralta.

The protesters also remembered Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis who was allegedly killed by a police officer who kneeled on his neck, in a brutal incident caught on camera in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The video footage of the incident was released on social media before it sparked for the current of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

In Washington, protesters chanting “Black Lives Matter” took to the streets and gathered at several different points, including Capitol Hill and the Lincoln Memorial, before setting out on marches that converged near the vastly expanded security perimeter around the White House.

The crowd remained there for hours, singing and chanting the names of victims to demand structural change to end police violence against African Americans, who are three times more likely than whites to die at the hands of cops, according to the website Mapping Police Violence.

Protesters raised their fists in the air, amid a much smaller and less aggressive police presence than earlier this week in the US capital.

In Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, a peaceful protest turned tense after police ordered the crowd to disperse, sparking a clash that left several cops injured, police said.

“At about 7:30 p.m. demonstrators outside the East Precinct began moving barricades at 11th and Pine despite multiple requests from police to stop. Individuals began throwing rocks, bottles, and explosives at officers. Several officers injured due to improvised explosives,” Seattle Police Department tweeted.

Earlier in the day, thousands of healthcare workers outraged by the death of Floyd organized a demonstration from Harborview Medical Center to Seattle City Hall that drew thousands.

Most of the protesters wore face masks, scrubs, and lab coats and carried placards that read “Black Health Matters” and “Racism Is a Public Health Emergency” as they marched to protest rampant racial injustice and a lack of police accountability in the US.

Protests also continued in several cities of Florida, including the one around the golf club of US President Donald Trump in Miami-Dade.

Marches were also held in Hillsborough, Broward, and Palm Beach.

With signs of “Your fight is my fight” and “You are not alone”, Latinos from Doral, a city in Miami-Dade County, and a large number of Venezuelan people, gathered in the neighborhood of President Trump’s club at noon to ask for equal justice for African Americans.

Hundreds of protesters shouted launched a tirade against Trump and shouted slogans like “Without Justice, there is no peace”.

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