President Donald Trump has promised to stop collective violence after several nights of unrest in the city of Minneapolis, where Floyd died on Monday. A curfew was imposed there, but protesters ignored it and clashed with riot police to keep them away from the police station.
There were also clashes in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Atlanta. A curfew has also been imposed in the last two cities, as well as in Miami and Chicago for the same reasons.
During the protests, protesters chanted “I can’t breathe,” George Floyd’s last words before he died. Initially, the protests began peacefully, but then demonstrators blocked streets and intersections, caused fires, shattered windows and led to clashes with police in many places.
The picture of protesters filling the streets of major American cities fuels a sense of crisis in the country after weeks of isolation imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, during which millions lost their jobs and disproportionately affected minorities.
In the US capital, hundreds of protesters chanted in front of the Department of Justice: “The lives of people of color have meaning.”
In Minnesota, where Minneapolis is, authorities mobilized 13,000 military ot the National Guard and asked for help from the Ministry of Defense to deal with local protesters. U.S. Gov. Tim Waltz said outside elements, who could be anarchists but also white supremacists or drug traffickers, are causing the protests to escalate into violence. Trump himself said that this was caused by small groups of criminals and vandals, by extreme leftists and anti-fascists, and called for the destruction of American cities by such people.
More than 100 people were detained in Chicago after thousands took to the streets of the city, some of them armed with shovels, bats, hammers and metal pipes.
In Los Angeles, protesters clashed with police in the Fairfax neighborhood, where they tried to break into the offices of CBS Television City. They then raided Grove Mall and shops on the famous Rodeo Drive in affluent Beverly Hills. Mayor Eric Garnett described it as vandalism and destruction.
In Philadelphia, disgruntled people attacked the statue to a former mayor by tying her with ropes and setting fire to her base. According to local television, many cars were set on fire in the city, and in Washington, three Secret Service cars parked near the White House were sprayed and broken. There were attacks and arson in Seattle.
In New York, there were protests in Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, which escalated into real chaos at night. Protesters smashed windows, threw objects at police, set fire to police cars, blocked roads with garbage cans. Even in Manhattan, shops were broken into and goods were stolen. At least 15 police cars were destroyed and at least 120 people were arrested in the city. Mayor Bill De Blasio said the riots were sparked by agitators who did not represent the city and were deliberately trying to incite violence against police.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden condemned the violence during the protests, but added that he continued to support the reason why people came out to protest, namely Floyd’s death. He described this reason as a just cause.