George Floyd: Curfews defied as demonstrations escalate across US

Carla Harmon
May 31, 2020

The vandalism at the jail appears to be the most serious physical damage done during a day of tense, but largely peaceful, demonstrations.

Pittsburgh police and other organizations have said they would respect the rights of people to protest and would work with organizers to assure safety for all.

As the world watched, the same chant echoed across the USA in a fifth day of protest: "No justice, no peace". Near Union Square in Manhattan, a police vehicle was set on fire, sending plumes of black smoke into the air, while in Los Angeles a police post was burned in a shopping mall, with nearby shops looted. "Liberal Governors and Mayors must get MUCH tougher or the Federal Government will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests".

For those depending on public transportation, Metro officials said all bus and rail service was being suspended for the rest of the night due to the city of L.A.'s curfew.

LA Mayor Requests Help From National Guard Amid Protests Over George Floyd Killing

Floyd's death has strong parallels to that of Eric Garner, who died during a fatal 2014 arrest in NY, repeatedly pleading with officers, "I can't breathe".

Also Saturday, the Society of Professional Journalists tweeted an open letter asking protesters and police not to attack or harass journalists. The actual number is likely higher as protests continue Saturday night.

In a fresh development, authorities resorted to tear gas and even rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators, with curfews enacted in several major cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Denver, Miami, and Milwaukee.

Earlier on Saturday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated a "full mobilization" of the Minnesota National Guard in a bid to restore order in the deeply shaken city, which is the largest domestic deployment in the state's National Guard's 164-year history.

Besides those that turned violent, there were peaceful protests.

Lightfoot announced a curfew, starting from 9 p.m. local time to 6 a.m. Sunday, adding that anyone breaking the curfew, after being given the warning to disperse, would be arrested.

In Nashville, police imposed a curfew Saturday after protests turned violent and City Hall was set on fire, according to a Tennessean news website.

Participants held signs saying "Black Lives Matter" and chanted "I can't breathe" - some of Floyd's last words before he died on Monday shortly after a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pinned him down with a knee to the neck for several minutes.

Chauvin and three other officers were fired Tuesday in connection with Floyd's death, then Chauvin was arrested Friday on murder and manslaughter charges.

Floyd's plea before his death evoked African Americans' painful memories and sparked a nationwide cry for justice.

The phrase became a rallying point for protesters demonstrating against the killings of unarmed black men and women by police.

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