Minneapolis race riots spread to other US cities
Washington DC/New York City, May 29 (efe-epa).- Thousands gathered in cities across the United States Friday to protest the death of George Floyd in police custody, after days of vandalism and looting in Minneapolis, where the curfew has now been imposed.
In downtown Atlanta, near the headquarters of the CNN television network, groups of protesters smashed store windows, to which the riot police responded with tear gas, according to television broadcasts.
Some of the protesters threw rocks at the CNN building and several police vehicles parked outside the premises were also targeted with projectiles, with at least two of them set on fire.
Curfew has been imposed until Sunday in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St Paul – separated by the Mississippi river – by their respective mayors in an attempt to control the protests and violence that the region has witnessed during the last three days.
The curfew was imposed on Friday after another night of disturbances, with incidents of looting and a police station being set on fire in Minneapolis.
The cause of the protests is the death of 46-year-old African-American George Floyd at the hands of police on Monday after being detained on suspicion of trying to use a fake $20 bill at a supermarket.
In videos recorded by passers-by, one of four officers who participated in the arrest and who were later fired, is seen kneeling on the back of Floyd’s neck, ignoring his pleas that he couldn’t breathe.
“Please, please, please I can’t breathe,” Floyd can be heard saying before he died.
Friday’s protests in Minneapolis come amid calls for calm from civilian leaders in the African-American community, confident that the chaos will subside after Derek Chauvin, the police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck, was charged on Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Hennepin County (Minnesota) District Attorney Mike Freeman filed the charges shortly after the announcement of Chauvin’s arrest and said that there may be more charges to come.
The city’s mayor, Jacob Frey, has also called for calm, a message similar to that released by Minnesota governor, Democrat Tim Walz, who activated the National Guard on Thursday, fearing another night of chaos.
Meanwhile, in the capital of Washington DC, a protest that started out peacefully escalated into clashes with the police and Secret Service officers after the arrests of at least two protesters, with some of the participants throwing plastic bottles in retaliation, as per media reports.
Journalists present inside the presidential building tweeted that it was put under a partial lockdown by the Secret Service due to the protests, although the measure was ultimately lifted.
In videos of the White House demonstration published on social media, a young man can be seem climbing on the railing of the Freedman Bank building, situated opposite the president’s residence and housing the Office of Foreign Assets and other government offices, to paint graffiti against President Donald Trump amid applause from the crowd.
The demonstrators also tore down barricades in front of the White House on more than one occasion, resulting in moments of tension.
The protest began with a meeting during which the protesters, many of them wearing masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus, chanted “I can’t breathe” and held placards denouncing the death of Floyd.
In New York, hundreds took to the streets Friday for the second consecutive day in which there were also moments of high tension between protesters and law enforcement officials, and which ended with dozens of arrests during incidents in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The first protest was held in Manhattan’s Foley Square, although the most violent actions were recorded in Brooklyn, with three epicenters – in Prospect Heights at the Barclays Center, in Clinton Hill, and in Fort Greene Park where protesters set fire to an empty police van.
Tension was experienced at the Barclays Center during altercations with the police, the use of a substance thought to be pepper spray, and arrests.
Carrying photos of black and latino victims of police brutality, and signs with slogans such as “Enough is enough” and “Justice for Floyd,” the protesters, wearing masks and gloves, responded to a new call from the Black Lives Matter movement to gather in Foley Square, where the protesters threw bottles and garbage. There at least 30 protesters were arrested, according to local media.