NEW YORK – Tens of thousands of protesters began another week of demonstrations and disturbances on Monday (June 1) night, returning to the streets of cities around the US despite curfew orders, threats of arrest and the words of the brother of George Floyd, who made an emotional plea for the destruction to end.
The protesters were driven from parks, interstates and government buildings by growing numbers of law enforcement officers in riot gear, whose response to the demonstrations has been criticised in dozens of confrontations.
– In Washington, President Donald Trump threatened to call in the military to end protests around the country and then ventured outside the White House grounds to pose for photographs at a nearby church. His walk came after riot police and National Guard troops used tear gas and flash grenades to clear a path through a peaceful protest in a city park.
– In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the city would be put under a curfew from 11pm to 5am, one day after protesters lit fires at Union Square and several high-end boutiques in SoHo were looted. When the violence continued on Monday night, Tuesday’s curfew was moved up to 8pm.
– The driver of an SUV sped through a line of law enforcement officers in riot gear in Buffalo, New York, injuring two of them in an episode that was caught on video. One of the injured was a Buffalo police officer, and the other was a member of the New York State Police, according to Mark Poloncarz, the Erie County executive, who said that both officers were in stable condition. The driver and the passengers in the SUV were taken into custody.
– In Philadelphia, an armoured vehicle bearing the insignia of the Pennsylvania State Police fired tear gas into hundreds of protesters who had gathered near downtown. Demonstrators sought refuge along a highway embankment after they had breached the roadway. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is slated to visit the city on Tuesday to address the unrest.
– In Dallas, protesters were arrested and charged with obstruction of a highway for marching on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Clay Jenkins, the Dallas County Judge, allowed peaceful protests to continue on the county courthouse property past a citywide 7pm curfew. He cautioned that protesters would likely be arrested by Dallas police officers if they left the property. “I support peaceful protest and radical transformation,” he said.
– In Minneapolis, Terrence Floyd became the first member of George Floyd’s family to visit the place where his brother lived his last conscious moments and told a crowd that what he had seen in recent days troubled him. “If I’m not over here wilding out, if I’m not over here blowing up stuff, if I’m not over here messing up my community, then what are y’all doing? What are y’all doing?” he said. About 15 minutes after curfew, a peaceful crowd gathered at the spot saw flashing lights in the distance and ran toward them, saying they wouldn’t back down from the police, and barricaded the nearby streets.
– The mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, fired the city’s police chief after the owner of a local barbecue restaurant was killed when police officers and National Guard troops shot toward protesters. The mayor, Greg Fischer, said he had fired the chief after learning that officers’ body cameras were not activated during the shooting.
– A white bar owner in Omaha, Nebraska, who fatally shot a young black man amid rioting acted in self-defence, a prosecutor said on Monday, announcing that no charges would be filed. The bar owner, Jake Gardner, shot James Scurlock, 22, on Saturday night, in an area of downtown Omaha where businesses had been vandalised. The announcement prompted many employers in Omaha, which is already under a curfew, to send people home early for fear of renewed violence.
– A vigil in Puerto Rico brought hundreds of people to Loíza, the island’s largest black community, before a 7pm curfew in place to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. “We share the grief of all the African American community,” said one of the protesters, Andrés Santos, 41. “We share the rage.”
– In Chicago, the Justice Department arrested a man it accused of travelling across state lines to start riots, loot and attack law enforcement officers. The man, Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, was arrested after he visited Minneapolis and, according to the complaint, posted a video of himself on social media in which he could be seen setting fire to a store, looting another store and distributing explosives to others and encouraging them to attack police officers.
– In Austin, Texas, the police chief said that an African American protester who was shot in the head by officers was in critical condition at a hospital, one of a handful of cases in the city of protesters being injured by non-lethal rounds.
– Seattle issued its third night of curfews Monday night, and the city’s suburbs prepared for the possibility that further unrest could spread. The Washington cities of Bellevue, Redmond, Issaquah, Lynnwood, Tukwila and Renton were among those that were to begin curfews Monday night. The National Guard arrived in Bellevue as crews cleaned up from looting and vandalism the day before.