National guard troops deployed; Fires light up Washington DC;
Cities across the US saw further unrest on Sunday as protests against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis raged on. Fires burned in the nation’s capital, including near the White House, on the sixth day of nationwide demonstrations.
Amid rising anger and frustration at the repeated failure of America’s policing system to address the staggering number of deaths of unarmed African Americans at the hands of officers, mayors of more than a dozen cities imposed curfews and governors of six states called in the national guard.
But the move did not deter protesters from gathering again in many cities as Sunday night drew in. Since Floyd’s death last week, more than 4,100 protesters have been arrested.
In Minneapolis, where the protests began last week after video emerged of a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, national guard troops were deployed as demonstrations continued. A fuel semi-truck drove into a demonstration of thousands of people on a bridge near the city’s downtown, though authorities say no one was injured after the “disturbing” incident, reports The Guardian. There was looting in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and other cities throughout the country.
In Washington DC, intense unrest broke out in Lafayette Park, right in front of the White House, when police advanced to enforce the curfew. The basement of the “Church of the Presidents”, located opposite the White House briefly caught fire, before firefighters rushed to put it out, and the Washington monument was surrounded by smoke from multiple fires. Officers fired teargas into the crowds, and US marshals personnel and DEA agents were deployed in addition to national guard and Secret Service to assist the police.
In New York thousands of protesters returned to the streets, marching through Manhattan during the day and later congregating at Union Square, where numerous police cars had been torched on Saturday night. Fires were again set on the streets amid clashes between officers and protesters.
In the Florida city of Fort Lauderdale officers on motorcycles doused crowds in teargas, according to local press reports. In Atlanta, where teargas was again used by police on the streets, two officers were fired and three placed on desk duty over excessive use of force on Saturday night.
All the main highways were closed and many side streets closed off by makeshift barricades.