More National Guard troops sent in as US protests grow over George Floyd’s death

Police and protesters across the US are clashing again on the fifth straight day of unrest as anger intensifies over the death of George Floyd.

The protests marked by chants of “I can’t breathe” – a rallying cry echoing the dying words of Mr Floyd – have spread to more than 30 cities, with cars and buildings burned, shops looted, and at least two people dead.

Governors in several states have called in National Guard troops after President Donald Trump warned state authorities they needed to adopt tougher tactics, or federal government would step in.

A protester gestures during a rally near the White House
Image:A protester gestures during a rally near the White House
A demonstrator raises her arms in front of security forces in Minneapolis
Image:A demonstrator raises her arms in front of security forces in Minneapolis

Curfews have been imposed in several cities, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Denver, but they have largely gone ignored, with tens of thousands of people spilling on to the streets.

In Washington DC, hundreds of demonstrators assembled near the Justice Department headquarters and later moved to the White House, where they faced off with shield-carrying police, some mounted on horseback.

President Trump tweeted that if protesters who gathered the night before in Lafayette Square, across from the White House, had breached the fence, “they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen”.

He also vowed that “radical left criminals, thugs and others” would not be allowed to set communities ablaze.

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Speaking in Florida after watching the SpaceX launch, Mr Trump said: “I will not allow angry mobs to dominate. Won’t happen.”

However, Mr Trump said George Floyd’s death was a tragedy. He said: “The death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis was a grave tragedy. It should never have happened. It has filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger and grief.”

Protests in the city of Minneapolis

Protests in the city of Minneapolis

The full Minnesota National Guard was activated for the first time since World War Two after several nights of arson, looting and vandalism in parts of Minneapolis, the state’s largest city.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said the deployment was necessary because “outside agitators” were using protests over Mr Floyd’s death to create chaos.

“We are under assault,” Mr Walz said on Saturday. “Order needs to be restored.”

A man has water poured into his eyes as protesters march in Denver
Image:A man has water poured into his eyes as protesters march in Denver
Demonstrators stand on top of a burned out police car in Los Angeles
Image:Demonstrators stand on top of a burned out police car in Los Angeles

In Minneapolis, which has been the epicentre of protests since Mr Floyd’s death there, officers fired tear gas and moved in to push away throngs of demonstrators who were gathering around the city police’s 5th Precinct.

Several protesters were knocked to the ground after police cars were driven into them in New York City.

Video posted to social media showed officers using batons and shoving protesters down as they made arrests and cleared streets.

A man stands on top of a burning police car during a protest over the Minneapolis death of George Floyd while in police custody outside CNN Center on May 29, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

Fires and looting as protests rage across US

Another video showed two New York Police Department vehicles driving into protesters who were pushing a barricade against a police car and pelting it with objects, knocking several to the ground.

“Our country has a sickness. We have to be out here,” said Brianna Petrisko, among those at lower Manhattan’s Foley Square, where most were wearing masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is the only way we’re going to be heard.”

Police officers detain a man during an "I can't breathe" vigil and rally in the Brooklyn borough of New York, NY, U.S., following the death of African-American George Floyd who was seen in graphic video footage gasping for breath as a white officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis

Protests and looting across the US

Mr Floyd died on Monday in Minneapolis after a police officer put his knee on the unarmed black man’s neck for more than eight minutes.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder, but the arrest has done little to quell protests across the country.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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