Many US cities imposed curfews amid widespread clashes

US cities order curfews amid widespread clashes4
Cities are imposing curfews to stop widespread protests. Source: BBC
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Daily US Times: Several US cities across the country have imposed curfews in an attempt to stem the violent clashes between protesters and police over the death of George Floyd.

Widespread protests have taken place, with riot police using tear gas and rubber bullets after their vehicles were set alight in several cities.

President Trump blamed “looters and anarchists” for the violence.

Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday.

Former police officer Derek Chauvin, 44 and white, has been charged with his murder and is due to appear in court on Monday.

That all started when a footage that went viral online, where Mr Chauvin can be seen kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Mr Floyd repeatedly says that he is unable to breathe.

A firework explodes near a police line during a protest in Atlanta, Georgia. Source: Getty Images

Three other officers present at the time have also since been sacked. The US cities that currently have curfews in place are  Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Miami, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Columbus, Portland, Milwaukee and Salt Lake City.

What’s the latest on the protests?

Protesters threw stones at riot officers in Chicago, who responded by launching tear gas canisters. Several people were arrested on Saturday.

Los Angeles police fired rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse crowds who threw bottles and set fire to their squad cars. Images later showed people standing on police vehicles that had been burned.

A large crowd converged on the White House in Washington, DC for the second day running.

President Trump have threatened the protesters in a bizarre four-tweet thread and thanked the Secret Service for their handling of protests in Lafayette Park Friday night.

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

He also attacked DC mayor Muriel Bowser, claiming she “wouldn’t let the D.C. Police get involved.”

Buildings in Atlanta, Georgia were vandalised on Friday, a state of emergency was declared for some areas to protect people and property.

Thousands of people also marched through the streets of Minneapolis, Miami, Atlanta, New York, and Philadelphia.

Minnesota residents arrange food and drink donations for those participating in peaceful protests. Source: Getty Images

Overnight curfews have been now been declared in Minneapolis, Portland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Louisville – among other cities.

Protesters in several cities continue to defy the curfews and widespread looting has been taking place. Hundreds of troops from the National Guard were brought in Minnesota late on Friday. The National Guard is a reserve military force that can be called on by the US president or state governors to intervene in domestic emergencies.

What has Trump said?

Mr Trump said on Saturday evening that Mr Floyd’s death had “filled Americans with horror, anger and grief”.

“I stand before you as a friend and ally to every American seeking peace,” he said in a televised address.

President Trump denounced the actions of “looters and anarchists”, accusing them of dishonouring the memory of Mr Floyd. He said, what was needed was “healing not hatred, justice not chaos”.

He added: “I will not allow angry mobs to dominate – won’t happen.”

Mr Trump has blamed the mayor of Minneapolis, who is a Democrat – for failing to control the protests, which are the worst since he took office.

He threatened if the violence was not brought under control, the deployment of the National Guard would do the job.

Protesters stand atop a burned out police car in Los Angeles, California. Source: EPA

Joe Biden, the president’s rival in the next election, has accused him of giving oxygen to bigotry and said those responsible for Mr Floyd’s death must be held accountable.

What happened to George Floyd?

Police received a phone call on Monday night from a neighbourhood grocery store alleging that George Floyd had paid with a counterfeit $20 note.

Officers responded and were attempting to put him in a police vehicle when he dropped to the ground, telling them he was claustrophobic and with Mr Chauvin’s knee on his neck, Mr Floyd can be heard saying “please, I can’t breathe” and “don’t kill me”.

He physically resisted officers and was handcuffed, according to police. Video of the incident does not reveal how the confrontation started.

According to a preliminary autopsy by the county medical examiner, the police officer had his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds – almost three minutes of which was after Mr Floyd became non-responsive.

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