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George Floyd: US protests over police brutality intensify - Live

Al Jazeera logo Al Jazeera 5/31/2020 Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath
  • Another round of protests is gripping major cities across the United States against police brutality and violence, especially against unarmed Black people.
  • Several states have called in National Guard troops to help quell the protests, some of which have turned violent. Cities nationwide have also implemented curfews, but protesters appear undeterred.
  • Protesters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have pledged to continue until all four officers involved in the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, are charged. Floyd died on Monday after a white officer knelt on his neck. Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The other officers have not been charged.
  • Trump orders Pentagon to put military police on alert, saying they may be deployed to Minnesota.

Latest updates:

Sunday, May 31

17:30 GMT - Mapping US police killings of Black Americans

Between 2013 and 2019, police in the United States killed 7,666 people, according to data compiled by Mapping Police Violence, a research and advocacy group. On May 26, 2020 at 9:25pm (02:25 GMT, May 27), George Floyd, a 46-year-old resident of Minnesota, became yet another victim of police brutality as he was killed by an officer while unarmed.

Floyd's death has prompted thousands of protesters to march in cities around the country demanding justice and an end to police violence. 

The number of police killings in the US disproportionately affects African Americans. Despite only making up 13 percent of the US population, Black Americans are two-and-a-half times as likely as white Americans to be killed by the police. 

The map below shows how disproportionate these killings are across the US's 50 states.

17:00 GMT - Trump says US to designate Antifa as a '"terrorist organisation"

Donald Trump said on Sunday that the US will designate Antifa as a "terrorist organisation" accusing the anti-fascist network for the violence seen in several cities across the country.

Antifa, short for anti-fascist or Anti-Fascist action, is a fringe movement, a loose collection of organisations and ideas with no party line and no formal leadership, but their fight against the far right has found centre stage in the polarised climate of Trump's America.

15:30 GMT - Governor Walz says Minnesota authorities hit by cyber attacks

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said on Sunday state authorities were hit by cyber attackers before law enforcement launched operations Saturday to clear protests.

Walz described the incident as a “a very sophisticated denial of service attack” and said it was executed on “all computers.” He did not offer additional details.

Governor Walz said the hack is evidence outside groups are trying to sow mayhem in his state [AP]

 Walz pointed to the hack as evidence that unrest in his state in recent days has been stoked by coordinated, outside groups trying to sow mayhem.

“That’s not somebody sitting in their basement,” he told reporters on Sunday. “That’s pretty sophisticated.”

 Minnesota authorities say 20 percent of those arrested had out-of-state addresses.

14:00 GMT - Trump will not activate federal troops for now - NSA's O'Brien

President Donald Trump will not invoke federal authority over the National Guard for now, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said on Sunday.

"We're not going to federalise the Guard at this time," O'Brien told reporters at the White House, saying law enforcement decisions should rest with governors and mayors.

10:17 GMT - Police failing to ensure right to protest: Amnesty International

"In city after city, we are witnessing actions that could be considered unnecessary or excessive force. We call for an immediate end to any such use of force and for law enforcement to ensure and protect the legal right to protest,” Rachel Ward, National Director of Research at Amnesty International USA, said in a statement.

According to the human rights group, police tactics used so far can trigger escalating violence. "Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict are inevitable," read the statement, adding that police "should demilitarize their approach and engage in dialogue with protest organizers."

09:35 GMT - 'Fires continue burning': La Mesa local media 

Protests turned violent in the city of La Mesa near San Diego, California where demonstrators set buildings ablaze.

"Fires continue burning across the city. Protests have been ongoing since early this morning," Hunter Sowards, a reporter from local KUSI News media, said in a tweet. 

The city is under curfew from 1.30am (8.30am GMT) until 7am (2pm GMT).

08:19 GMT - Minneapolis protesters undeterred by curfew

"We don't need a curfew, we need change," Mia, a 20-year resident of Minneapolis told Al Jazeera. 

Going home would "[send] the wrong message that they can shut us up when they want to, and that's not the case here", she said as protesters have promised to remain in the streets at least until all four officers involved in Floyd's death have been charged.

Read Lucien Formichella’s full story here.

07:58 GMT - Trump 'didn't give me the opportunity to even speak': George Floyd's brother 

The brother of George Floyd said he was not given "the opportunity to even speak" when President Donald Trump called the Floyd family on Friday.

"It was so fast. He didn't give me the opportunity to even speak. It was hard," Philonise Floyd told MSNBC.

"I was trying to talk to him but he just kept like pushing me off like 'I don’t want to hear what you're talking about,'" he said.

"And I just told him I want justice, I said I can't believe they committed a modern day lynching in broad day light. I can't stand it," Philonise Floyd added. "I just want to understand, why do we have to go through this?"

07:25 GMT - Protests raise concerns over spread of coronavirus  

Protesters in Atlanta said they had to take to the streets to protest against police brutality despite the dangers associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

"It’s not OK that in the middle of a pandemic we have to be out here risking our lives," Spence Ingram, a Black woman marching in Atlanta, told The Associated Press news agency.

It came as health experts and officials raised concerns over the virus’s spread during the protests that keep gripping major cities across the US.

"If you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a COVID test this week," Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms said, adding that "there is still a pandemic in America that’s killing Black and Brown people at higher numbers."

Protesters throw firecrackers amid tear gas during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Atlanta, US [Reuters]

06:57 GMT - Journalists hit by police in Minneapolis

Two members of a Reuters TV crew were shot with rubber bullets in Minneapolis shortly after a curfew as they were covering the protest.

"My security advisor and I were post with rubber bullets tonight. He had PRESS labeled clearly and visibly on his bulletproof vest," one of the two reporters Julio-Cesar Chavez said in a tweet as he posted a photo of a previous moment when a police officer was aiming directly at him.

Chavez explained in a second tweet that he was shot in the arm and the back of his neck with rubber bullets, while his security adviser was shot in the face, but saved by the gas mask he was wearing.

No immediate comments were made as Reuters asked about the incident to Minneapolis Police Department. Spokesman John Elder who requested a copy of the video.

06:38 GMT - San Francisco to impose curfew 

San Francisco Mayor London Breed has declared the implementation of a citywide curfew starting on Sunday 8pm (03:00 GMT).

"People are hurting right now. They're angry. I'm angry," she said on Twitter, as she announced the decision.

"The City and the police will support peaceful protests, as we did all day today," however, she added, "We can't tolerate violence and vandalism. Now is the time to go home."

04:32 GMT - Biden: We must not allow this pain to destroy us

Joe Biden, the presumptive US Democratic presidential nominee, said in a statement early on Sunday that "we are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us".

"These last few days have laid bare that we are a nation furious at injustice. Every person of conscience can understand the rawness of the trauma people of color experience in this country ... like the horrific killing of George Floyd," the former vice president said.

"Protesting such brutality is right and necessary ... But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not. Violence that guts and shutters businesses that serve the community is not."

04:00 GMT - LA calls in National Guard

The mayor of Los Angeles says the National Guard will be deployed overnight to help local law enforcement as protests continue in the country's second-largest city. 

Mayor Eric Garcetti says he asked California Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday to send 500 to 700 members of the Guard. Crowds of demonstrators have torched police cars, vandalised and burglarised shops and clashed officers. Hundreds of people have been arrested since Friday night. Police have used tear gas to disperse the crowd. 

03:58 GMT - Protesters defy curfew in Salt Lake City

Protests are continuing in Salt Lake City despite a curfew issued by the mayor and National Guard troops deployed by Utah's governor.

Police officials say they are prepared to give people time to leave, but they plan to arrest people who refused to comply.

What started as a peaceful demonstration Saturday against the death of George Floyd turned destructive. A group of people flipped over a police car and lit it on fire. A second car was later set on fire.

Police officials say six people have been arrested and that a police officer was injured after being struck in the head with a baseball bat.

03:50 GMT - National Guard called in Washington, DC

The National Guard has been called out in Washington, DC, as pockets of violence erupted during a second straight night of protests.

Hundreds of protesters converged on the White House during the day Saturday and marched on the National Mall, chanting "Black Lives Matter," "I can't breathe" and "No justice, no peace". Those protests remained relatively peaceful.

Police used pepper spray to try to disperse the crowd, but the standoff continued. Protesters dragged away barricades and some broke up concrete to use as projectiles. At one point, a rubbish bin was set on fire.

National Guard troops took up position around the White House on Saturday night.

03:45 GMT - Nearly 1,400 people arrested in 17 US cities

Police have arrested nearly 1,400 people in 17 US cities as protests continue over the death of George Floyd, according to the Associated Press news agency.

An Associated Press tally of arrests found at least 1,383 people have been arrested since Thursday. The actual number is likely higher as protests continue Saturday night.

03:00 GMT - NYC police drive into protesters

New York City Police Department cruisers drove into protesters who were standing against a barricade and began pelting the police car with objects. The two vehicles drove into the small crowd, knocking several to ground, video shared on Twitter showed.

The Associated Press news agency also reported on the incident

Warning: Graphic video

02:50 GMT - Nashville mayor declares emergency as courthouse burns

The mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, has declared a state of civil emergency after protesters set a fire inside the Metro Courthouse in the state's capital city.

Thousands had rallied near the Capitol building Saturday afternoon to peacefully protest police brutality and racism. But things turned violent after darkness fell, with protesters breaking windows in government buildings and causing other property damage.

The Tennessean newspaper says demonstrators also pulled down a statue outside the Capitol of Edward Carmack, a controversial former legislator and newspaper publisher who espoused racist views.

Police deployed tear gas and began warning demonstrators that the protest was unlawful.

Governor Bill Lee issued an order Saturday night for the National Guard to mobilize "in response to protests that have now taken a violent, unlawful turn in Nashville".

02:15 GMT - Trump continues to attack Minneapolis leaders

US President Donald Trump continued his attacks on Minneapolis city leaders as protests there continued for a fifth night.

"The National Guard has been released in Minneapolis to do the job that the Democrat Mayor couldn't do," he said as protests raged on in the city.

"Great job by the National Guard," he tweeted. "No games!" he added, appearing to cheer on the tougher tactics being used by law enforcement around the country.

02:00 GMT - What Al Jazeera correspondents and reporters are seeing in major US cities

Gabriel Elizondo in New York City: "It's pretty chaotic out here right now ... Groups of protesters are really playing cat and mouse [with police]  ... Right now the bottom line is: New York City is really a city in the middle of fog right now because it's really hard to make out exactly what's happening

Natasha Ghoneim in Chicago, Illinois: "This moment is eerily reminiscent of another moment that the city of Chicago had, and it won't fade from its memory. That was in 2014 when the police shot and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald." (Read more about that police killing here.)

Lucien Formichella in Minneapolis, Minnesota: "There was a tense moment here in Minneapolis earlier when what was believed to be a drunk man attempted to drive his car through the protest area. The situation was de-escalated by protesters, and the man was sent back. Protesters then erected makeshift barricades to stop cars from driving down the street."

A banner with an image of George Floyd is held by protesters rallying against his death in Minneapolis police custody, in Minneapolis, Minnesota [Leah Millis/Reuters] 

Rob Reynolds in Los Angeles: "As night falls the standoff between protesters and police continue."

Mike Hanna in Washington, DC: "The demonstrations here have been largely peaceful through the course of the day and indeed in the course of the evening. There had been some scuffles. At one stage demonstrators were being pushed back across the park in front of the White House, but generally, the demonstrations have been relatively peaceful."

01:45 GMT - More cities impose curfews

Eugene, Oregon, was the latest US city to impose a nightly curfew as protests over the death of George Floyd intensifies.

Eugene city officials enacted a 9pm Saturday curfew. Seattle and Portland, Oregon, also issued Saturday night curfews due to unrest.

Eugene is home to the University of Oregon.

01:30 GMT - Protests erupt on the US West Coast

Protests are rocking several cities on the West Coast of the US

Washington Governor Jay Inslee activated up to 200 members of the National Guard to respond to protests, some violent, in downtown Seattle that forced the closure of the Interstate 5 freeway and the imposition of a citywide curfew.

Inslee said the Guard personnel would be unarmed and be directed by Seattle officials, who requested the help to protect property and manage crowds who had gathered in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

A woman gestures in front of police officers during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Los Angeles, California [Patrick T Fallon/Reuters] 

The mayor of Seattle, Washington, meanwhile announced a 5pm curfew for Saturday following protests that spilled onto Interstate 5, forcing its closure through the central part of the Northwest's largest city.

The mayor of Portland, Oregon declared an 8pm curfew for Saturday after that city saw fiery protests Friday night.

00:40 GMT - Protesters in Minneapolis run after man believed to have a knife

Calls of "he's got a knife" rang out as a large group of about 100 protesters followed a man out of the protest.

Many in the group were shouting "let him go". Before he walked out of the car park where he was, another man ran up and sprayed him with what appeared to be mace.

"I saw somebody run that way after him, [onto Lake Street] but I don't know if he got caught," said one witness.

00:15 GMT - Protesters defy curfew in Minneapolis, other cities

Hundreds of protesters continued to rally in Minneapolis, even as a citywide curfew took effect. Similar reports were coming from other cities across the US.

Protesters have told Al Jazeera that they will stay in the streets and continue to rally at least until all four officers involved in the death of Floyd are arrested. They are also calling for police reforms.

Hundreds of people continued to rally in Minneapolis on Saturday after a curfew began [ Lucien Formichella/Al Jazeera] 

00:05 GMT - Protests intensify in Texas

As anger over the death of Floyd intensified in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said he was sending more than 1,500 state troopers to cities where demonstrations were taking place.

Abbott said in a news release Saturday that troopers are being sent to Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said on Twitter that nearly 200 people were arrested Friday and most will be charged with obstructing a roadway as several protesters blocked an interstate road and a highway.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Austin on Saturday outside police headquarters and then marched along Interstate 35.

00:00 GMT - Protesters confront police in Chicago

Protesters were confronting police in Chicago, Illinois, for a second night as anger about police violence and the death of Floyd grew.

More than 100 arrests were made on Friday night in relation to the protests, police said.

Saturday, May 30

23:50 GMT - Protests grip New York City for third night

Protesters rallied in New York City for a third night on Saturday, marching and blocking traffic on a highway.

Several thousand peacefully protested in Union Square and outside Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Later in the day, as protesters confronted police, video posted online showed officers pushing some protesters to the ground.

The mayor said he was upset by videos in which "protesters were handled very violently" by police and by reports that a state senator and member of the state Assembly were among the people sprayed with irritating chemicals by officers.

Dozens have been arrested over the three days of protest, according to authorities.

23:20 GMT - Protesters rally in Atlanta

Hundreds of people rallied outside the Georgia governor's mansion.

Video and photos shared on social media showed protesters blocking the road in front of the Atlanta building, chanting "hands up, don't shoot!"

According to The Associated Post news agency, the governor, Brian Kemp, was not home on Saturday evening.

The mayor of Atlanta has announced a 9pm (01:00 GMT) curfew in the city that will last until sunrise Sunday morning.

Protests turned violent as outrage over Floyd's death intensified outside the headquarters of news network CNN on Friday night.

22:30 GMT - Minneapolis city leaders call for state's attorney general to be named special prosecutor

Community leaders and organisers have told Al Jazeera they want Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to handle the case as they do not trust Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to do so.

Local media also reported that six of the city council's 13 members have supported that call.

Ellison, who is Black and was also the first Muslim US congressman before being elected attorney general, has good ties with the community, organisers have told Al Jazeera.

22:15 GMT - Protests erupt outside White House for second night

Protesters have gathered outside the White House for a second night, demanding an end to police violence and protesting against Trump, who has been accused of inciting and glorifying violence.

Trump said on Saturday that he is a "friend and ally to every American".

"I stand before you in firm opposition to anyone exploiting this tragedy to loot, rob, attack and menace. Healing, not hatred, justice, not chaos, are the missions at hand," Trump said in Florida, where he was watching the launch of the SpaceX rocket.

Without evidence, the president has blamed "radical left" protesters for the violence.

The White House was placed on lockdown on Friday evening as protesters tore down barricades outside. The barricades were several feet in front of the fence that surrounds the president's residence.

22:25 GMT - Ohio calls in National Guard

The governor of Ohio has called in the National Guard to support local authorities as protests continue to rage in Columbus and Cleveland.

The mayors of both cities announced 10pm (02:00 GMT) curfews.

Governor Mike DeWine said Saturday that the vast majority of protesters want "simply to be heard" and focus attention on the death of Floyd.

But the governor adds that sadly the calls for justice and change are "being drowned out by a smaller group of violent individuals." He says that "acts of violence cannot, and will not, be tolerated."

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther says he believes racism "is a public health and safety crisis" and he wants to see a more equitable city, but that: "We are now at a point that we can no longer tell who is protesting for change and an end to racism and who has only chaos and destruction in mind."

22: 20 GMT - Denver imposes curfew

The mayor of Denver, Colorado, has ordered a nighttime a curfew as demonstrations protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis entered a third day.

Mayor Michael Hancock said Saturday that the Colorado National Guard would help enforce the 8pm to 5am (02:00 - 11:00 GMT) curfew.

Downtown Denver has seen protests for two nights, with tense moments between demonstrators and police. Authorities have fired tear gas, flash grenades and pepper pellets. Some protesters have broken windows of businesses.

22:00 GMT - George Floyd protests: Minnesota fully mobilises National Guard

The governor of Minnesota, where protests have erupted over police brutality and the death of George Floyd during the last week, has fully mobilised the National Guard to Minneapolis for the first time in state history.

Governor Tim Walz said the deployment comes as part of an effort to help quell the protests, which have often started off peaceful before descending into chaos - violence he largely blamed on outsiders.

Read more here.

A man confronts National Guard members guarding an area of Minneapolis, Minnesota [Carlos Barria/Reuters]

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera's continuing coverage of the protests in the US over the deadly arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath in Louisville, Kentucky, Lucien Formichella in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Here are a few things to get caught up:

  • George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, died on Monday after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd's neck to the ground for several minutes. Floyd can be heard on a bystander video repeatedly pleading with officers, saying "I can't breathe." He eventually becomes motionless with the officer's knee still on his neck. (You can read about the deadly incident here.)
  • The four officers involved in the incident were fired. Derek Chauvin, the white officer who pinned Floyd down, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Protesters demand the three other officers be charged as well.
  • Protests - some violent - have since erupted nationwide as demonstrators rally for justice for Floyd and all unarmed Black people killed by police.

See the updates from Friday night's protests here

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