- Protests continue to spread as more cities impose curfews and states call in the National Guard.
- Cities brace for another night of unrest as protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody and other acts of police violence intensify.
- Protesters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, demand all officers involved in Floyd’s death be charged.
- National Guard activated in several major US cities, but protesters appear undeterred.
Sunday, May 31
03:20 GMT – Fires erupt near White House
Protesters started fires near the White House as tensions with police mounted. Police fired a major barrage of tear gas stun grenades into the crowd of more than 1,000 people, largely clearing Lafayette Park across the street from the White House and scattering protesters into the street.
Protesters piled up road signs and plastic barriers and lit a raging fire in the middle of H Street. Some pulled an American flag from a nearby building and threw it into the blaze. Others added branches pulled from trees. A cinder block structure, on the north side of the park, that had bathrooms and a maintenance office, was engulfed in flames.
Several miles north, a separate protest broke out in Northwest DC, near the Maryland border. The Metropolitan Police Department says there were break-ins at a Target and a shopping center that houses major retailers, a movie theater and specialty stores. Police say several individuals have been detained.
03:10 GMT – Truck company makes statement
The truck company owns the semi-truck that drove through thousands of people marching on the Minneapolis highway said in a statement that it was informed of an incident involving one of its independent contractors and it would be cooperating with investigating authorities.
Video showed the truck had a logo on its side for “Kenan Advantage Group,” an Ohio-based transportation company.
02:50 GMT – San Diego police fire tear gas at protestors
San Diego police said officers have fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of demonstrators that was pelting them with rocks and bottles.
Hundreds of people, many with facial masks to protect against the coronavirus, marched through downtown chanting “George Floyd” with signs, including some saying “I Can’t Breathe,” a reference to Floyd’s dying words when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on the back of his neck. Some demonstrators dropped to one knee at times.
The demonstration began peacefully at 10 am. San Diego police said on Twitter that a crowd of 100 to 200 people was throwing rocks but stopped. Authorities said multiple vehicles were vandalized.
02:45 GMT – Minnesota attorney general to lead prosecutions
Minnesota’s state attorney general Keith Ellison said on Sunday he will lead the prosecution of the case involving the killing of George Floyd.
It with a large degree of humility and a great seriousness, I accept for my office the responsibility for leadership on this critical case involving the killing of George Floyd.
We are going to bring to bear all the resources necessary to achieve justice in this case. pic.twitter.com/XXafzFT0Kd
— Attorney General Keith Ellison (@AGEllison) June 1, 2020
“It is with a large degree of humility and a great seriousness, I accept for my office the responsibility for leadership on this critical case involving the killing of George Floyd,” Ellison said in a tweet.
“We are going to bring to bear all the resources necessary to achieve justice in this case.”
02:00 GMT – Minneapolis police begin arresting demonstrators for curfew violations
A group of protesters who remained out after the 8pm curfew have been arrested, the Minneapolis Police Department confirmed on Twitter.
The protesters on Washington Avenue were surrounded by police and “arrests are being made”, the MPD said. “Curfew violation is a misdemeanor.”
“Hundreds” of people arrived to the Washington Avenue bridge in Minneapolis about 20 minutes after the curfew began, according to a local journalist.
— Nick Ferraro (@NFerraroPiPress) June 1, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said in a tweet that roughly 150 people had been arrested.
1:27 GMT – Minnesota announces investigation into semi-truck incident
Authorities in Minnesota announced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a semi-truck which appeared to drive into a crowd of protesters marching down a Minneapolis freeway.
“The Minnesota State Patrol and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are jointly investigating what happened with the semi that drove into demonstrators tonight on I-35W. The incident is being investigated as a criminal matter”, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted.
The driver has reportedly been arrested.
Video of the incident appears to show a semi-truck barreling towards a large group of demonstrators, who split in time to avoid harm.
No injuries have been reported, though circumstances remain unclear.
24:09 GMT – Ellison to head prosecution of former cop who killed Floyd
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will head the prosecution in the case surrounding George Floyd’s death.
Former officer Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter days after Floyd’s death.
Ellison asked in a Fox News appearance on Sunday that the public be patient.
“To ask people to be patient who have suffered so long and been denied justice so long is really asking a lot of them, but if you want to make sure that this case results in a successful prosecution, you’ve got to understand the defense attorneys who are going to be on the other side are very skillful and they will try to break every single link in the prosecutorial chain”, Ellison said before the appointment.
23:00 GMT – Protesters hold moments of silence in major cities
Video shared on social media show protesters kneeling and sitting to hold moments of silence nationwide.
Many lasted for eight minutes and 46 seconds – the amount of time a white police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck in Minneapolis.
8 minute 46 second moment of silence in Murfreesboro TN rally today. pic.twitter.com/0mNuXtO6ea
— Teresa Taylor (@Lemons_N_Laughs) May 31, 2020
23:00 GMT – Semi-truck appears to drive into crowd of protesters
A semi-truck appeared to drive into a crowd of protesters marching down a Minneapolis freeway, live video showed.
Video shows a large group of protesters parting and running as the truck barrels towards them.
The truck then comes to a stop and protesters run towards it.
It is unclear what happens next and whether there were any injuries.
Protesters and residents in the area told Al Jazeera that the scene is very chaotic.
Warning: Graphic footage.
— Brett Hoffland (@BrettHoffland) May 31, 2020
21:45 GMT – Atlanta mayor: Two officers fired for using excessive force on protesters
Two police officers have been fired and three others placed on desk duty for excessive use of force during a protest arrest incident, Atlanta’s mayor said.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a news conference that she and police Chief Erika Shields made the decision after reviewing body-camera footage of a Saturday night incident that first gained attention from video online and on local news.
“Use of excessive force is never acceptable,” Bottoms told reporters. Shields called the footage “really shocking to watch.”
The video, shown on TV as captured by local reporters, shows a group of police officers in riot gear and gas masks surround a car being driven by a man with a woman in the passenger seat. The officers pull the woman out and appear to use a stun gun on the man. They use zip-tie handcuffs on the woman on the ground. The couple did not appear to be fighting police.
21:30 GMT – Where have protests against police brutality taken place?
21:15 GMT – Michael Jordan: We have had enough
Former NBA star Michael Jordan said in a statement that he is “deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry.”
“I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough,” Jordan said. “Everyone of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.”
Statement from Michael Jordan: pic.twitter.com/lWkZOf1Tmr
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) May 31, 2020
21:10 GMT – Atlanta extends curfew
Atlanta’s mayor extended a curfew another night on Sunday, and Georgia’s governor authorised up to 3,000 National Guard troops to be deployed across the state to respond if needed to protests over the deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.
Guard soldiers had helped enforce a 9pm (01:00 GMT) curfew Saturday in Atlanta, where violence has marred otherwise peaceful protests since Friday. Governor Brian Kemp said more would be ready Sunday for demonstrations planned in Athens, Savannah and other cities.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order Sunday extending the curfew in the city, according to text and email notifications sent to residents. It takes effect at 9pm Sunday and will end at sunrise Monday.
Atlanta police said Sunday they had arrested more than 150 people overnight as protesters threw rocks at officers and broke windows in the downtown area. That brought the total number of arrests during two nights of protests to nearly 230.
21:00 GMT – Philadelphia to close off large parts of city centre
Officials in Philadelphia announced plans to close off much of the centre of the city Sunday after peaceful protests over George Floyd’s death turned into a night of destruction with store windows smashed near City Hall, merchandise taken from stores and police and other vehicles and structures set afire.
But television news helicopter footage Sunday afternoon showed people running into multiple stores in northeast Philadelphia, well outside the city centre, and emerging with merchandise as disorder continued for a second day elsewhere in the city.
— Steve (@twomuchbrew4u) May 31, 2020
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said much of Center City would be blocked off, affecting roads, bridges and expressway entrances and exits, as well as the city’s transit agency. The Ben Franklin bridge between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey, was closed until further notice.
An 8pm (00:00 GMT) curfew in the city announced earlier was moved up to 6pm (22:00 GMT) Sunday, and retail establishments were ordered to close immediately with people cleaning or securing vandalised properties ordered to finish up and return home by 5pm (21:00 GMT) so that the curfew could be enforced.
Local television showed live aerial shots for more than an hour Sunday afternoon of people running from store to store in strip malls in northeast Philadelphia’s Port Richmond section, emerging with armfuls of merchandise as police units tried to keep up.
20:55 GMT – San Francisco extends
San Francisco’s mayor and police chief said Sunday the city’s 8pm (03:00 GMT) curfew would be extended indefinitely and that people who are out after that time would be stopped.
Mayor London Breed said Governor Gavin Newsom had approved sending in about 200 extra officers from other agencies.
20:30 GMT – Protests spread to European football
England footballer Jadon Sancho joined protests across German football at the weekend by lifting his jersey after scoring to reveal a T-shirt with the handwritten message “Justice for George Floyd” on the front.
Sancho was shown a yellow card for his gesture which came after he scored the second goal for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn on Sunday.
Earlier, Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring in Borussia Moenchengladbach’s win over Union Berlin.
The Gladbach forward scored in the first half and then dropped his left knee to the ground and rested his right arm on his right thigh as he bowed his head in reflection. He spent five seconds in this position before getting up again to continue.
“No explanation needed,” Gladbach said on Twitter with a picture of Thuram kneeling.
08:15 GMT – DC mayor blames “organised group” for violence
The mayor of the nation’s capital said Sunday that violence and vandalism from the previous night’s protests were committed by “an organised group that appeared more bent on destruction than protest.”
Muriel Bowser also acknowledged what she described as the legitimate grievances of the peaceful protesters.
Bowser and Police Chief Peter Newsham toured the city around 3am (07:00 GMT) Sunday, assessing dozens of broken windows, damaged storefronts and a few looted shops.
In a news conference Sunday, Newsham said 17 protesters were arrested, and he expected more arrests as police go over security camera footage.
A contingent of 500 members of the DC National Guard remain on standby and will continue to be deployed to assist local security, Bowser said.
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 Creede Newton in Washington, DC.
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.
www.aljazeera.com 2020-06-01 03:16:22