Tens of thousands take to streets to protest George Floyd killing

Protests over the death of unarmed black man George Floyd are spreading across the US, with some in Minnesota, Atlanta and elsewhere becoming violent.

Hundreds of protesters in Atlanta, Georgia, confronted police officers outside CNN’s headquarters, chanting: “Quit your jobs.”

One protester climbed on top of the CNN sign and waved a “Black Lives Matter” flag. Others threw bottles at officers, striking some of them. No officers appeared to get hurt.

A man jumps on the roof of a 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)
Image:A man jumps on the roof of a police car in Atlanta
protests over George Floyd death outside CNN headquarters Atlanta
Image:Protests over George Floyd’s death outside the CNN headquarters in Atlanta

In Washington DC, the US Secret Service ordered the White House to be locked down for about an hour on Friday evening due to people outside the gates protesting, according to NBC News.

Hundreds of people gathered in Lafayette Park, with protesters shouting “No justice, no peace”.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets of New York City for a second day of protests.

In Brooklyn, crowds of demonstrators chanted at police officers lined up outside the Barclays Centre. There were several moments of struggle, as some in the crowd pushed against metal barricades and police pushed back.

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Scores of water bottles flew from the crowd toward the officers, and in return police sprayed an eye-irritating chemical at the group.

However, many of the protests have remained peaceful.

A man waves a Black Lives Matter flag 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)
Image:A man waves a Black Lives Matter flag
The police officer who carried out the arrest has been put on administrative leave
Image:Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter

In Minneapolis, where George Floyd died, thousands ignored the city’s 8pm curfew and encircled a police station.

Mr Floyd died after police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on his neck for at least eight minutes during his arrest for allegedly using a fake $20 note in a shop.

Chauvin, who was sacked following Mr Floyd’s death, has now been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, prosecutors said.

A statement issued by Mr Floyd’s family said Chauvin’s arrest was a “welcome but overdue step” and called for the other three officers involved in the incident to be detained.

George Floyd. Pic: Shutterstock
Image:George Floyd’s family welcomed the arrest. Pic: Shutterstock

“For four officers to inflict this kind of unnecessary, lethal force – or watch it happen – despite outcry from witnesses who were recording the violence – demonstrates a breakdown in training and policy by the city,” the family said.

“The pain that the black community feels over this murder and what it reflects about the treatment of black people in America is raw and is spilling out onto streets across America.”

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In video footage of Mr Floyd’s arrest, the 46-year-old can be heard saying he could not breathe, before paramedics are seen lifting him on to a stretcher and into an ambulance.

He was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Protests over the death of George Floyd taking place in Atlanta at CNN headquarters
Image:Protests over the death of George Floyd taking place at CNN headquarters

In a complaint, authorities said Chauvin had his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, including nearly three minutes after Mr Floyd stopped moving and talking.

A post-mortem found the combined impact of being restrained by police, underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.

The charges brought against Chauvin come after three days of protests that have spread throughout the US.

Protests have so far taken place in:

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Houston, Texas
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • New York City
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Windermere, Florida
  • Fontana, California
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Washington DC
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Louisville, Kentucky
Target stores have been targeted during the protests in Minneapolis
Image:Cars have been targeted during the protests in Minneapolis

A “we can’t breathe” vigil and rally in Manhattan was joined by the mother of Eric Garner, a black man who died after being placed in a chokehold by a police officer.

Using a megaphone, Gwen Carr said: “I’m so glad that you all came out today to support this important cause. Enough is enough.”

US President Donald Trump has tried to walk back his Twitter comment that “looting leads to shooting” after it drew widespread condemnation.

On Friday, he said he understood why Mr Floyd’s death had sparked protests but added they should not be allowed to turn to “lawless anarchy”.

Saying he had expressed his sorrow to Mr Floyd’s family, Mr Trump added: “I understand the hurt, I understand the pain.”

Mark Gibson

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

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