Crime & Justice

Protests, riots sweep across US with curfews in several cities

Minneapolis, US, May 30 (efe-epa).- Protests and unrest took over the streets of many United States cities again on Saturday, with Minneapolis, Minnesota, as the epicenter, where crowds of people demonstrated against police brutality despite a curfew in place.

Around 30 cities, from Los Angeles to Chicago, passing through Cleveland, Washington DC and New York, were the scenes of protests against the death of 46-year-old African American man George Floyd, who died at the hands of the police on May 25 in Minneapolis.

Crowds gathered in Minneapolis minutes before the 8 pm (01:00 GMT) curfew ordered by authorities in the Fifth Precinct area, where on Friday a bank and a police station were burned down. Later, a reporter on the scene tweeted that state police in riot gear were advancing after peaceful protesters defied curfew, and that rubber bullets and tear gas had been fired.

Burned-out police cars, blocked roads, broken glass and the launching of projectiles were scenes repeated in various parts of the US, whilst police used tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters.

Several thousand protesters demonstrated for the third consecutive day in New York, burning police vehicles in Brooklyn and cutting off traffic on various roads, with tense moments involving batons and pepper spray in simultaneous marches that traveled the five districts of the Big Apple, until they passed Trump Tower. Police also detained two sisters for throwing a Molotov cocktail at the police on Friday.

In Washington, DC, new altercations between the Secret Service, police and protesters took place for the second consecutive night in the vicinity of the White House. More than 1,000 protesters gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue and some threw bricks, stones and bottles until they were dispersed by the Secret Service. There was also a clash with the Secret Service after a fence was knocked down.

Hours later, as evening fell, hundreds of protesters gathered near Lafayette Square, the park in front of the White House, the access to which had been closed. There, security measures were reinforced with metal barriers and a greater deployment of law enforcement personnel and vehicles, which were damaged by protesters. At around 10pm, police fired tear gas.

President Donald Trump warned that if protesters had breached the White House fence they would “have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.”

On the west coast, the Seattle Police Department reported in a statement that “following several hours of peaceful demonstration, the crowd became violent and aggressive and began to throw bottles at officers. Members of the crowd also threw fireworks towards people attending the rally.” As a result of these altercations, several protesters and officers were injured, police said.

Local television was broadcasting images of burning vehicles, while Governor Jay Inslee said he had activated 200 members of the National Guard, and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted that she would “soon be signing an emergency order and the @CityofSeattle will be imposing a 5 pm curfew soon. Crowds need to disburse from downtown immediately.”

In Philadelphia, rally participants vandalized a police vehicle, and painted and attempted to tear down the statue of former mayor Frank Rizzo in the city center. Rizzo, who died in 1991, was a police commissioner known for his firm hand.

Meanwhile, in places such as Chicago and Los Angeles, protesters clashed with police, who reportedly fired rubber bullets.

The Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety in Pennsylvania said on Twitter that several police officers had been injured during riots, while three journalists had been injured or attacked by protesters.

In Miami, Florida, protesters staged riots that were dispersed by law enforcement, after a peaceful rally earlier in the day. The protesters set fire to several police cars and smashed street furniture until at 10 pm the riot teams dispersed the crowds using tear gas and rubber bullets.

The authorities of other states such as Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Colorado, Ohio and Utah joined Minnesota on Saturday to order the mobilization of the National Guard to deal with the unrest.

Several cities have decreed a curfew, including Atlanta, where protests were especially violent on Friday. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ordered a curfew on Saturday from 9 pm local time until dawn.

Similar measures have been taken in Cleveland, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Los Angeles, California; Louisville, Kentucky; Denver, Colorado; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. EFE


With contributions from EFE correspondents in New York City, Washington and Miami.

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