President Donald Trump has threatened to send troops against civil protests in dozens of American cities provoked by the murder of black George Floyd in police custody.
Tensions in the United States escalated last week to 75 cities, with no signs of easing so far.
Anti-racist demonstrations in some places have led to clashes with police, violence and looting.
Four police officers were injured in a shooting in St. Louis, Missouri, and one in a shooting in Las Vegas.
Two people were killed earlier in the riots in Chicago.
Targeted attacks on law enforcement officials are becoming more frequent.
About 4,400 people were detained.
Evening hours have been introduced in dozens of cities, and many observers say the situation is beginning to resemble a civil war.
Floyd’s assassination sparked a massive anti-racist wave around the world.
It is expected to have a significant impact on the upcoming US presidential election.
Trump can take the military to the streets
Trump said he has thousands of heavily armed soldiers and law enforcement officials to end the violence in the US capital.
He has vowed to do the same in other cities if mayors and governors do not regain control of the street, Reuters reported.
Floyd’s death, which died while a police officer stood with his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes, sparked mass protests in various US cities against racism and police violence, which have been going on for almost a week.
The president compared the attacks on police officers in recent days to domestic terrorism and said:
“I am mobilizing all available federal resources – civilian and military – to stop riots and looting, destruction and arson, and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your rights under the Second Amendment (of the US Constitution) ” – a reference to the constitutional protection in America of the possession of firearms.
“We cannot allow the just cries of peaceful protesters to be silenced by an angry mob.”said the president. He added that the United States is in the grip of “professional anarchists.”
“I strongly recommended that all governors use the National Guard to dominate the streets. If a state or city refuses to take the necessary action to protect the lives and property of its citizens, I will deploy the United States Army and quickly resolve the issue for them.“Trump said in a White House Rose Garden speech, while eyewitnesses said authorities dispersed a peaceful protest with tear gas and rubber bullets just a few blocks away.
Trump said that after the violence, looting and fires in Washington, a curfew would begin, beginning at 7 p.m.
The protests are escalating
As the president spoke, shock grenades continued to be heard, and mounted police pushed protesters farther away from Lafayette Square, a park adjacent to the White House.
After a brief statement, Trump left the White House – surrounded by dozens of bodyguards – crossed Lafayette Square and went to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was damaged by fire during Sunday night’s protests.
He stopped in front of the boarded-up windows of the yellow church, where many presidents attended church services.
Trump was joined by several members of his government, including Attorney General William Barr, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and other senior officials.
There was still a pungent odor in the air. Trump stood in front of the cameras with a bible in his hand, lifted it high, and then walked back to the White House. However, he did not answer any reporter’s questions.
In his address to the nation, the American president commented:
“All Americans were rightly disgusted by George Floyd’s brutal death. Justice will prevail for him and his family, he will not die in vain. But we cannot allow peaceful protests to be silenced by an angry mob.”
The governor of Washington accused the president of being unable to cope with the situation, the Associated Press reported, quoted by BTA.
The US Department of Justice has announced that it is deploying its police services in Washington to end the riots, Reuters reported.
These services include the FBI, the U.S. Sheriffs and the Bureau of Prisons.
Shooting and violence
Four police officers in St. Louis were injured in a shooting late Monday in violent protests in the United States over the death of an African-American man in his arrest, Reuters reported.
According to US media, a police officer was shot dead in Las Vegas, and two people were killed in the riots in Chicago.
In Buffalo, New York, two police officers were hit by a car late last night while guarding a protest.
The state police in New York announced that the condition of both of them is serious, but there is no danger for their lives.
This came hours after US President Donald Trump vowed to use the military to halt growing clashes in the country.
He deepened his displeasure by posing next to a church grabbing a bible after police used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear his way to the temple after his statement in the White House Rose Garden.
Demonstrators set fire to a devastated mall in Los Angeles, looted shops in New York and clashed with police in St. Louis, Missouri, where four police officers were hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds.
“Employees are still under fire in the city center, we will report more information when possible,” announced on Twitter the police of St. Louis.
A police officer was shot dead in Las Vegas during protests over the death of George Floyd. Another incident involving a shooting at a police officer occurred at the Federal Court building in Las Vegas. According to preliminary data, the city police officer found a person responsible for the shooter.
Two people have been killed in riots in the Chicago suburb of Cicero, a local official said. No details were reported about the victims, but 60 arrests were reported.
About 40 cities in the United States have announced curfews. In addition to New York and Washington, other major cities include Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco (all in California), Chicago (Illinois), Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (both in Pennsylvania), Dallas and San Antonio (and both in Texas), Miami, Jacksonville and Orlando (all in Florida), Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and Cleveland (all in Ohio), Seattle (Washington), Detroit (Michigan), Minneapolis and St. Paul ( both in Minnesota), Louisville, Kentucky, and New York.
The AP estimates that about 4,400 people have been arrested in the past few days in the United States during protests and riots. They have been charged with looting, violating curfews and closing roads.
The official and independent expertise on Floyd’s death
A forensic examination found that George Floyd’s death was a murder. A report by the Bureau of Forensic Medicine in Hennepin County, Minnesota, states that the African-American died as a result of “cardiopulmonary shock (cardiac and respiratory arrest) aggravated (by the means) used by law enforcement and pressure on the neck.”
The authors of the examination also found in Floyd arteriosclerotic disease and hypertensive heart disease, as well as traces of fentanyl intoxication and recent use of methamphetamine. Forensic experts specify that the conclusion about the violent nature of Floyd’s death is a neutral wordingwhich does not reflect guilt or intent in the actions of anyone.
However, independent experts who were hired by Floyd’s family found that he was died of suffocation. This was announced at a press conference on Monday by the lawyer of the family of Floyd Ben Crump.
“The autopsy shows that Mr. Floyd had no concomitant illnesses that caused or contributed to his death.”said Michael Baiden, a medical specialist who performed the autopsy, disproving the official qualification of the murder and blaming the police even more. “He was in good health”added Baiden.
“The cause of death, in my opinion, was suffocation due to pressure on the neck”, he said. Baden stressed that people could speak even if they could not breathe, referring to the fact that the victim cried for help while struggling.
Lawyers said that not only the officer who was kneeling on Floyd’s neck was responsible, but also two other police officers who kept him nailed to the ground and pressed him in the back. The fourth policeman stood and did nothing, which according to the lawyers makes him guilty.
“George died because he needed air, he needed a breath of air”said Ben Crump, the family’s lead lawyer. He called for the protests to continue, but insisted the violence was “unacceptable”.
The family’s lawyers added that Floyd’s funeral will be on June 9 in Houston, Texas, a city where the man has spent most of his life.
Democrats criticized Trump
Democrats have sharply criticized US President Donald Trump’s threats to send troops if cities or states refuse to comply with his recommendation to deploy the National Guard to end violent protests over George Floyd’s death.
“These are not the words of a president. These are the words of a dictator,” Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris wrote on Twitter in response to his statement.
She sharply attacked the Republican president that police used tear gas to disperse the protesters so that Trump could be photographed immediately after his speech.
“How low can this president fall?” Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer tweeted.
He said Trump used tear gas “so he could be photographed and shown as tough.”
“These are empty words. His actions reveal his true nature.” added Sumer.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has recently been in conflict with Trump over the government’s response to the coronavirus, also called the president’s actions “disgraceful” on Twitter.
“Trump used the military to push a peaceful protest so he could take pictures in front of a church. For this president, it’s just a reality show. Shame,” said the Democratic governor.
The president is calling out the American military against American citizens.
He used the military to push out a peaceful protest so he could have a photo op at a church.
It’s all just a reality TV show for this president.
– Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 1, 2020
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