By Jorge Fuentelsaz
New York City, US, June 3 (efe-epa).- New York City police officials made numerous arrests on Wednesday in several parts of the city, even resorting to force after curfew began, while protests in other United States cities were more peaceful than previous days.
Faced with a third night of demonstrations involving thousands of New Yorkers who defied the curfew to protest against the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis last week, the police Wednesday night decided to act more harshly after giving them an hour’s notice when curfew came into force at 8 pm.
New York Police Department (NYPD) Chief of Department Terence Monahan told reporters that the police had adopted a more aggressive approach in order to quickly disperse the groups of protesters.
The police resorted to force in Brooklyn, using batons, rubber bullets and tear gas with the aim of dispersing protesters and arresting numerous people to enforce the curfew. The detainees were then loaded onto buses of the city’s Department of Correction.
After protesting peacefully for more than an hour in front of the mayor’s residence in Manhattan’s upper east side, the demonstrators began marching south of the city, until the police began charging through the crowd at Third Avenue and 50th Street at about 9 pm.
It was police officials on bicycles who first charged the protesters and then those on foot began to arrest dozens as loudspeakers on police vehicles reminded the demonstrators of the curfew orders and demand everyone leave the area.
Arrests also took place in Union Square, where the police began to make indiscriminate arrests after 8 pm to enforce the curfew.
The jarring note at the end of the day in Brooklyn and Manhattan followed peaceful protests throughout the city by thousands of people, including a silent congregation at the gates of the Mayor Bill de Blasio’s residence.
During the silent sit-in, de Blasio released a statement in which he said his administration will review and reform the use of force policies at the NYPD.
The marches on Wednesday seemed to be more organized than the chaotic protests of recent days with private vehicles offering water and food as well as hand gel and masks to try to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“Hands up, don’t shoot” and “Justice Now” were some of the most heard slogans on the streets.
In the capital of Washington, DC, thousands of demonstrators gathered for peaceful protests, while dozens of personnel wearing military uniforms arrived at the site in buses four hours before curfew began.
A much larger crowd than the day before gathered in the center of the capital, divided into several groups along new security parameters erected by police around the White House, but without the high fence used on Tuesday to separate them from the security forces
Soon after 7 pm, half a dozen white buses arrived around the White House, and from each of them, some 50 personnel dressed in military camouflage uniforms and carrying riot control shields emerged.
A Pentagon source told EFE that they were not active units, without giving any further details. The National Guard on Tuesday had announced that it was planning to deploy some 1,500 more troops in the capital this week, while the Pentagon had announced it would continue the deployment of 1,600 active duty troops.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser pushed out Wednesday’s curfew to 11 pm (03.00 GMT, Thursday), after imposing it from 7 pm two days in a row.
Even after the curfew enforcement, hundreds of protesters were present around the White House, however no altercations were reported.
Meanwhile, Golden State Warriors NBA stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson joined a march with other teammates such as Kevon Looney and Damion Lee in Oakland city in the San Francisco Bay area.
“No matter the color of your skin, how much money you got, your education, it don’t matter. We’re all human beings,” said fellow Warriors player Juan Toscano-Anderson at the beginning of the march.