US protests defy curfews as Trump faces backlash for violent crackdown

Posted In: News Date:Jun 3rd, 2020

Protesters defied curfews across the United States Tuesday as leaders scrambled to stem anger over police racism while President Donald Trump rejected criticism over his use of force to break up a peaceful rally.

Standoffs between police and demonstrators stretched into the night in cities from New York to Los Angeles over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man whose killing has brought once-in-a-generation protests to the nation for the past week.

But there were fewer reports of the looting and violence that had soured street demonstrations in previous nights.

Tens of thousands gathered earlier in Houston to pay a hometown tribute to Floyd, who grew up in the Texas city and is to be buried there next week.

"Today is... about George Floyd's family — we want them to know that George did not die in vain," Mayor Sylvester Turner told an estimated 60,000 people.

A tearful Roxie Washington, the mother of Floyd's six-year-old daughter, told a news conference she wanted "justice for him because he was good.

"No matter what anybody thinks, he was good."

In New York, which on Tuesday prolonged its first curfew since World War II for the full week, AFP reporters saw hundreds refusing to go home after the 8:00 pm cutoff, instead chanting slogans and peacefully walking the streets in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Protestors attempting to cross the Manhattan bridge were pinned there for an extended period by police on both sides, but were finally allowed to return to Brooklyn, according to a New York Times reporter on the scene.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN it had been "much calmer" a day after several Manhattan luxury stores were looted, praising an increased and "vast presence" of police on the streets.

Minnesota took one of the first concrete actions to address the grievances behind the uprising, which began after Floyd's death on May 25 in the state's largest city Minneapolis.

The state launched a civil rights investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department, looking at possible "systemic discriminatory practices" going back 10 years, Governor Tim Walz tweeted.

Former president George W. Bush called on the US to examine its "tragic failures" and to "listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving."

And in Los Angeles, one of dozens of cities hit by unrest, police officers and Mayor Eric Garcetti dropped to their knees in a symbolic act of solidarity as they met marchers led by African-American Christian groups.


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