This article titled “Thousands continue protesting across US as Minneapolis vows to dismantle police department – as it happened” was written by Helen Sullivan, Vivian Ho in San Francisco, Bryan Armen Graham in New York, Tom Lutz and Michael Safi, for theguardian.com on Monday 8th June 2020 10.31 UTC
Updated at 11.31am BST
Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
- The Minneapolis city council pledged to defund city’s police department. A veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis city council announced its intent to dismantle the city’s police department and invest in community-led public safety, a move that would mark the first concrete victory in the mounting nationwide movement to defund law enforcement agencies in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd. My colleague Sam Levin explains here what defunding the police might mean.
- New York City’s mayor pledged to cut police department funding. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday pledged to cut the police department’s funding, shifting the savings to social services. In a tweet from the City of New York shared by the mayor, de Blasio outlines policing reforms, including a plan to “Shift funding from NYPD to to Youth and Social Services.”
- New York City’s curfew was lifted. De Blasio also lifted a citywide 8pm curfew that drew extensive criticism for intensifying tensions between protesters and police – including numerous accounts of brutality against participants in demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd.
- A protester was shot in Seattle. A man drove a car into a demonstration and shot a protester in Seattle, Washington. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but police said officers have a man in custody who drove a car into a crowd at 11th avenue and Pine street, and that officers recovered a gun. Video footage shows a man driving a black sedan into the gathering, and catches a loud bang before the man exits the vehicle, gun in hand. The man then walks into the crowd with the gun at his side.
- US attorney general said troops were a last resort. The US attorney general, William Barr, appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation, where he was asked about the decision to have military troops on standby to respond to US citizens exercising their right to protest. “I think our position was common, which was that they should only be deployed … as a last resort and that we didn’t think we would need them. I think everyone was on the same page,” he said. Reports emerged last week that Donald Trump wanted 10,000 active troops to be ordered on to the streets of America to police the protests. Barr denied that accusation on Sunday. “The president never asked or suggested that we needed to deploy regular troops at that point,” he said.
- Thousands marched in Phoenix, Arizona, where protesters rally not just for George Floyd, but for Dion Johnson, a 28-year-old black man who was shot and killed by an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer.
Updated at 8.07am BST
New York City Mayor pledges to cut police department funding
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday pledged to cut the police department’s funding, shifting it instead to social services.
In a tweet from the City of New York shared by the mayor, de Blasio outlines policing reforms, including a plan to “Shift funding from NYPD to to Youth and Social Services.”
“The amount will be finalized with the city council during the budget process,” the statement says:
As always, please do get in touch with questions, comments, news and tips from your part of the US on twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: email@example.com.
Updated at 7.41am BST
Meanwhile British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted on Sunday that the anti-racism protests in the UK were “subverted by thuggery”, after some protestors clashed with police in London:
Fans of the popular South Korean boy band BTS matched its million donation to Black Lives Matter (BLM) in support of US protests against police brutality, an organisation that runs fundraisers for the fans said on Monday.
The K-pop group’s music label, Big Hit Entertainment, on Sunday told Reuters that BTS had donated million to BLM in early June. The seven-member BTS wrote on its Twitter account on Thursday that they are against racism and violence with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
“We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”
The hashtag went viral among the group’s fans and started another wave of donations with the hashtag #MatchAMillion.
The movement encouraged BTS’ fan base, known as ARMY, an acronym for Adorable Representative MC for Youth, to match the group’s million donation.
The campaign had raised ,007,518 as of Monday at 9:47 a.m. (0047 GMT), and will continue indefinitely, the organisers said.
US soccer federation considers repealing kneeling ban
The US Soccer Federation is considering repealing its ban on players kneeling during the national anthem, ESPN reports:
At the urging of USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone, the board will meet via conference call Tuesday to discuss the policy, sources said. The board probably will take a formal vote Friday.
If the board votes to repeal the policy, it would take effect immediately, but it would still have to be voted on at the next annual general meeting, scheduled to take place in February or March. At that point, the National Council could either back the repeal or vote to keep the policy in place.
Updated at 7.20am BST
“Never in my lifetime has the case of such visible injustice moved white and black people, moved them as human beings,” poet and novelist Ben Okri writes for the Guardian:
There have been protests all across America. But there have been huge protests in Britain, in Spain, in Nigeria, in fact all across the world. Why has the killing of George Floyd struck such a profound chord in us? Maybe it was that phrase: “I can’t breathe.”
The consonance of the phrase with the very root of our pandemic fears is uncanny. The phrase linked the coronavirus with the ubiquitous and implacable nature of institutional racism. “I can’t breathe” – yet people were prepared to risk being afflicted with coronavirus just so they could express their protest at the chokehold killing of a black man.
What happened to George Floyd isn’t new. “I can’t breathe” was uttered by another police victim, Eric Garner, less than a decade ago. But now there has been a crossover protest on a universal scale. This time is different. This time it is epochal. Language taps into primal fears.
As #BlackLivesMatter and George Floyd protests in the US inspire people around the world to demonstrate against racism, statues commemorating figures known for their brutality against black people are coming under fire.
On Sunday, as my colleague Martin Farrer writes, “protesters in Bristol in the UK toppled a statue to the 17th century slave trader Edward Colston that has long been the focus of anger in the city. Demonstrators gathered at the memorial on Sunday before attaching ropes to it, hauling it down and then pushing it into the docks. The historian David Olusoga compared it to the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq but home secretary, Priti Patel, called the incident ‘disgraceful’.”
Meanwhile in Brussels, Belgium, Euronews journalist Jack Parrock filmed as a group of men climbed onto a statue of King Leopold II and waved the Congolese flag, while chanting “murderer” and “reparations”.
Some estimates put the toll of people who died between 1885 and 1908 in the Congo Free State – an area that today lies within the Democratic Republic of Congo – which was privately owned and controlled by the Belgian king, as high as ten million.
Updated at 7.09am BST
Artists on Sunday painted the words End Racism Now on a downtown street in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.
The message was added days after the mayor of Washington, DC., had the words Black Lives Matter painted on a street leading to the White House amid days of demonstrations in the nations capital and all over the country in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
Floyd was born in North Carolina, where memorial service for family was held on Saturday.
Charman Driver, former chair of the Contemporary Art Museum on Martin Street, where the painting is located, called it a very painful totem. The street leads to Confederate monuments on State Capitol grounds, which have been spotlighted as offensive during protests, according to the AP.
The painting was applied Sunday morning when a city engineer met the artists and brought barricades to block off the street.
“We did it. And it’s wonderful. And we feel really good about it. Our voices are being heard, but it’s not enough,” Driver said.
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Meanwhile, Trump has “liked” a tweet about the HBO show ‘Insecure’ on Twitter. It is unclear whether this was on purpose, but the unlikely pairing (Insecure is a show about a young black woman living in LA) is causing a stir online.
US President Donald Trump has tweeted about statements made by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday last week regarding racism at the NFL.
Goodell, speaking in a video, said the league made mistakes in not listening to players in a video on Friday denouncing racism in the United States amid widespread protests over police brutality against black people.
“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” he said. “We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”
Trump tweeted around an hour ago that it might be possible that Goodell is “intimating that it would now be OK for the players to KNEEL or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & out flag.”
Goodell did not mention Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback whose decision to kneel during the national anthem during a preseason game in August 2016 kick-started the protest movement.
He did not mention the US flag or national anthem, either.
More on Goodell’s statements here:
Updated at 6.39am BST
Here is the full report on Minneapolis lawmakers vowing to disband the police department:
Speaking at a community rally on Sunday, a veto-proof majority of councilmembers declared their intent to “dismantle” and “abolish” the embattled police agency responsible for George Floyd’s death – and build an alternative model of community-led safety. The decision is a direct response to the massive protests that have taken over American cities in the last two weeks, and is a major victory for abolitionist activists who have long fought to disband police and prisons.
“In Minneapolis and in cities across the US, it is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” said Lisa Bender, the Minneapolis city council president, at the event.
Nine councilmembers announced their support and represent a supermajority on the twelve-person council, meaning the mayor, who earlier this weekend opposed disbanding the department, cannot override them. The remaining three councilmembers are broadly supportive of the effort as well, but weren’t ready to sign on, activists said. While the mayor has oversight over the police, the city council has authority over the budget and policy, and could work to dismantle the department through cuts and ordinances.
More footage of today’s protests in Los Angeles:
The decorations on the White House fence, which protestors are turning into a makeshift memorial, are growing:
In happier news, Sunday in the US saw marching taken to new levels of speed, grace and cool.
In LA, the Compton Cowboys, who describe themselves as “A collective of lifelong friends on a mission to uplift their community through horseback and farming lifestyle, all the while highlighting the rich legacy of African-Americans in equine and western heritage,” lead a “peace ride” to the Martin Luther King memorial:
In Philadelphia it was a group of skateboarders:
Photographer Lindsey Wasson has captured this photo of the moment the shooter in Seattle emerged from his car, as the 26-year-old man he shot – who later identified himself as Daniel – is treated by paramedics on the ground nearby:
Hi, Helen Sullivan with you now.
As always, it would be great to hear from you – please do get in touch with questions, comments, news and tips from your part of the US on twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated at 5.39am BST
The day so far:
That’s it from me today. Handing over to the incredible Helen Sullivan. Stay safe, everyone.
- A protester was shot in the arm in Seattle, Washington trying to protect his fellow demonstrators from a man who had driven his car into the crowd and came out with a gun.
- Thousands marched in Phoenix, Arizona, where protesters rally not just for George Floyd, but for Dion Johnson, a 28-year-old black man who was shot and killed by an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer.
- In Kauai, hundreds gathered to denounce police violence and racism in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Protesters in Miami, Florida briefly took over a section of an interstate ahead of the 9pm curfew.
Updated at 5.34am BST
Protester shot in Seattle
A man drove a car into a demonstration and shot a protester in Seattle, Washington.
It’s unclear exactly what happened, but police said officers have a man in custody who drove a car into a crowd at 11th avenue and Pine street, and that officers recovered a gun.
Video shows a man driving a black sedan into the gathering, and catches a loud bang before the man exits the vehicle, gun in hand. The man then walks into the crowd with the gun at his side.
Photographer Alex Garland got video of the victim as the street medics who treated him for a gunshot wound in his arm helped him down the street.
“I punched him in the face,” said the man, who identified himself as Daniel. “I heard the gunshot go off, in my arm. I moved right in time. But my whole thing was to protect those people, my whole thing was to protect those people down there.”
Thousands marched in Portland, Oregon, where law enforcement has come under scrutiny for responding to hostility from crowds with tear gas and stun grenades.
Police used “tear gas, stun grenades and a device that emits ear-piercing sounds” in nine of the 11 consecutive days of protest, according to the Oregonian.
Law enforcement has justified this use of force by tweeting items allegedly thrown at officers during the protests.
Protesters in Miami, Florida briefly took over part of Interstate 95 ahead of the 9 pm curfew:
Police allowed protesters to march along the interstate:
Guardian contributor Jon Letman has this dispatch from Kauai, where demonstrators have turned out in a rural part of Hawaii over the weekend:
Hundreds gathered on Kauai on Saturday to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Waving placards and chanting slogans denouncing police violence and racism, demonstrators reflected the diversity of Hawaii’s mostly Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander population.
Boisterous, but peaceful, protesters shouted “I can’t breathe!” as passing cars honked in support. Overhead, Hawaii’s state flag flew upside-down, signaling distress.
The only police present were six officers standing to the side on the steps of the county building as Kauai chief of police Todd Raybuck walked through the crowd talking with demonstrators.
Earlier in the morning, Raybuck had spoken at a “paddle-out” on Kauai’s north shore where hundreds had paddled surfboards into Hanalei Bay in a show of unity.
Although African Americans make up less than one percent of Kauai’s population, black demonstrators repeatedly described Kauai as “the best place they’d ever lived,” an island where community, respect, and tolerance were the norm.
One woman named Tsige Gesit said the Hawaiian spirit of aloha made Kauai different.
Native Hawaiian demonstrator, Peleke Flores, brought his small children to witness how kapu aloha (a philosophy and practice of nonviolent engagement) could be a positive force for change.
Raymond Catania, a local labor rights activist, was impassioned. “The Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) suffer with their lands taken away. Filipino and Micronesian workers are on the bottom… American capitalism does not work,” Catania said. “This is the beginning of the end of their system. It’s going take a while, but people are wising up.”
In Phoenix, Arizona, thousands showed up to march not just for George Floyd, but for Dion Johnson, a 28-year-old black man who was shot and killed by an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer in a “struggle” in which there are scant details.
The Guardian’s amazing voting rights editor Ankita Rao brings us more reporting from the protests in New York:
New York City saw more protests across the city today, with most expecting less tension with the New York Police Department after mayor Bill de Blasio lifted the 8pm curfew. The majority of the marches, including one with family and children and a meditation, were largely without incident.
But later in the evening, a small protest of about a hundred people made their way down Flatbush Avenue and then planned to cross the Manhattan Bridge on the pedestrian walkway. Like most protests, there was a group of protestors on bicycle at the front and back of the crowd. As protestors made their way, two or three protestors trailed behind, slowing down a long line of police vehicles going down the street, zig zagging on their bikes.
At one point, police officers exited the car with batons in hand before pushing the protestors on their back and chest, telling them to get on the sidewalk. At one point, a cop picked up a bicycle and threw it from a few inches away at the owner.
Updated at 3.28am BST
Hey there, Vivian Ho taking over the blog for Bryan Graham.
Protesters took to the streets in San Francisco and Oakland again on Sunday, some on foot and some on bicycle.
Barack Obama said that the nationwide protests following the recent deaths George Floyd and others were fueled from “decades worth of anguish, frustration, over unequal treatment and a failure to perform police practices” and issued a warning against “division and falsehoods” in a commencement speech during YouTube’s Dear Class of 2020 virtual ceremony.
“Democracy isn’t about relying on some charismatic leader to make changes from on high,” Obama said. “It’s about finding hope in ourselves, and creating it in others. Especially in a time like this. You don’t always need hope when everything’s going fine. It’s when things seem darkest – that’s when you need it the most.”
He added: “In a lot of ways, the pandemic just brought into focus problems that have been growing for a very long time, whether it’s widening economic inequality, the lack of basic health care for millions of people, the continuing scourge of bigotry and sexism, or the divisions and dysfunction that plague our political system.
“As scary and uncertain these times may be, they are also a wake-up call. And they’re an incredible opportunity for your generation.”
CNN reports that White House officials are deliberating a plan for Donald Trump to address the nation on the racial tensions and civil unrest across the country in coming days, citing a senior administration official.
Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson suggested as much on Sunday during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union when asked about the subject, saying: “I believe you’re going to be hearing from the president this week on this topic in some detail. And I would ask you maybe to reserve judgment until after that time.”
After firing off tweets and retweets at a record-shattering clip to start the weekend, Trump has kept a relatively low profile on Sunday: posting a handful of boilerplate endorsements, retweeting his own previous musings for amplification’s sake, taking a shot at the New York Times and claiming: “I built the greatest economy in the World, the best the U.S. has ever had. I am doing it again!”
Trump’s most recent attempt at an Oval Office address at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic in March was widely panned even by some friendly outlets, with Daniel Larison of the American Conservative writing it “went over like a lead balloon”.
Of course, Trump has also risen to the moment of a prime-time spotlight in the past. Even previously hostile CNN pundit and former Obama administration official Van Jones couldn’t help but gush after Trump’s first State of the Union address: “He became president of the United States in that moment, period.”
The Associated Press reports charges have been filed against a man in St Louis who police say shot and killed a retired police captain during a night of violent protests as the former officer tried to protect his friend’s pawn shop.
A 24-year-old St Louis man has been charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a retired police captain who died on a night of violent protests while trying to protect his friend’s pawn shop, the city’s prosecutor announced Sunday/
Stephan Cannon was being held without bond on a first-degree murder charge in the death of David Dorn, 77, who was killed Tuesday on the sidewalk outside Lee’s Pawn and Jewelry. Dorn’s last moments were caught on video and apparently posted on Facebook Live, though the video has since been taken down.
Dorn’s death came on a violent night in St Louis, where four officers were shot, officers were pelted with rocks and fireworks, and 55 businesses were burglarized or damaged, including a convenience store that burned.
The unrest came as cities across the US have seen protests and violence since George Floyd died May 25 after a white Minneapolis officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after the handcuffed black man stopped moving and pleading for air.
St Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the charges.
According to a police probable cause statement, Cannon was among those seen on surveillance footage entering the store and then stealing several televisions, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Dorn, a friend of the pawn shop’s owner who was in the habit of checking on the business when alarms went off, arrived at the store. Cannon then walked toward the street corner with gun in his hand.
“At the time the shots were fired, (Cannon) was the only person standing at that corner,” the probable cause statement reads. “Multiple plumes of smoke” can be seen coming from where Cannon was standing, and shell casings were found on the spot, police said.
Cannon also faces several other charges including robbery and felon in possession of a firearm.
The NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks led an estimated crowd of 7,500 supporters on what the team described as a public protest march through the city’s downtown area on Sunday.
“We making something great happen, something positive happen, something that’s heard around the world,” Brown said to the gathered demonstrators outside the team’s home arena, who responded with a various chants including “black lives matter”, “no justice, no peace”, and “we will be seen, we will be heard”.
He added: “It’s great to see everybody out here standing as one, standing for equality, standing for George Floyd and his family and everybody who’s been a victim to police brutality.”
Guardian US columnist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who started his own NBA career playing in Milwaukee, wrote about Brown’s parking violation gone wrong at the time.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has announced that national guard troops will be pulled out of the California cities where they’ve been deployed for a week.
“The California National Guard is departing Los Angeles this evening,” Garcetti said in a statement on Sunday. “A small number of units will be stationed nearby until June 10 to provide emergency support if needed. I’m proud that our city has been peaceful this week – and that our residents are leading a powerful movement to make Los Angeles more just, equitable, and fair for Black Angelenos, communities of color, and all of our workers, youth, and families.”
The announcement came amid another day of peaceful demonstrations across the state over the death of George Floyd and calls for police reforms.
Over 7,000 national guard troops were deployed to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and other cities after rampant violence and thievery marred the first days of protests marred the first days of the protest, though the overwhelming majority of the more than 3,000 arrests in Los Angeles county by Wednesday were for non-violent offenses like failure to disperse or breaking curfew.
Minneapolis city council pledges to defund city’s police department
A veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis city council has announced its intent to dismantle the city’s police department and invest in community-led public safety, a move that would mark the first concrete victory in the mounting nationwide movement to defund law enforcement agencies in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd.
Nine of the council’s 12 members announced their pledge to create a new system of public safety before hundreds of demonstrators at a rally at Powderhorn Park in south Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon.
“This council is going to dismantle this police department,” councilman Jeremiah Ellison said.
Added city council president Lisa Bender: “We’re here because we hear you. We are here today because George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis police. We are here because here in Minneapolis and in cities across the United States it is clear that our existing system of policing and public safety is not keeping our communities safe.
“Our efforts at incremental reform have failed. Period.”
On Friday, the council approved an agreement to ban the use of police chokeholds and neck restraints in response to the killing of Floyd with the state’s department of human rights, which also requires officers to intervene anytime they seen an unauthorized use of force.
When pressed by CNN for details on what a city with a defunded police department might look like, Bender told the network that funding would be shifted to other needs.
“The idea of having no police department is certainly not in the short term,” Bender said.
Updated at 11.54pm BST
Utah senator Mitt Romney is among the roughly 1,000 demonstrators marching in a faith-based protest to the White House in Washington on Sunday afternoon.
Asked by a Washington Post reporter why he chose to join the movement, Romney said: “Finding a way to end injustice and brutality and to make sure people understand that black lives matter.”
On Saturday, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate shared a photo of his father, George, participating in a civil rights march in protest of housing discrimination in 1963, his first year as Michigan’s governor. The caption included a quote from the elder Romney: “Force alone will not eliminate riots. … We must eliminate the problems from which they stem.”
Earlier Sunday, Romney was topic of discussion on the morning news shows after a New York Times story that said he and former US president George W Bush won’t be supporting Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
Updated at 11.13pm BST
The New York Times has announced editorial page editor James Bennet has resigned amid outrage over an op-ed by a Republican senator who called for using federal troops to quell protests outrage.
The opinion piece by Arkansas lawmaker Tom Cotton drew widespread criticism from when it was first published late Wednesday afternoon, including from Times staff, that only grew when it was revealed that Bennet had not read the piece before publication.
Some Times staff members called in sick Thursday in protest and the paper said a review found that the piece did not meet its standards. Bennett responded to the backlash by posting an explanation on the Times’ decision to run Cotton’s piece:
“The Times editorial board has forcefully defended the protests as patriotic and criticized the use of force, saying earlier today that police too often have responded with more violence – against protesters, journalists and bystanders,” he wrote.
“As part of our explorations of these issues, Times Opinion has published powerful arguments supporting protests, advocating fundamental change and criticizing police abuses. Times Opinion owes it to our readers to show them counter-arguments, particularly those made by people in a position to set policy. We understand that many readers find Senator Cotton’s argument painful, even dangerous. We believe that is one reason it requires public scrutiny and debate.”
The Times said on Sunday that Katie Kingsbury has been named as acting editorial page editor through the November election.
The Rev Jesse Jackson spoke at a worship service on Sunday at St Stephen Church in Louisville, the Kentucky city where Breonna Taylor was shot at least eight times in her home after a brief confrontation with police who were there to serve a warrant in mid-March.
”When you kill, you should be arrested and charged,” Jackson said. ”There’s a George Floyd in every town. … There’s a Breonna in this town, Laquan McDonald in Chicago, Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, the world is revolting for justice.”
On Saturday, the 78-year-old activist called for Congress to pass an anti-lynching law and eliminate protections for police officers from lawsuits, a subject he spoke about during a conversation with Guardian US reporter David Smith last week.
A crowd of about 1,600 demonstrators have gathered outside Trump International Hotel and Tower at Columbus Circle in midtown Manhattan, chanting “Throw him out!” and “No justice, no peace!”
The 11th days of protests in New York City have unfolded peacefully on a warm Sunday afternoon following the mayor’s rescinding of a citywide 8pm curfew that had drawn extensive criticism for intensifying tensions between protesters and police from the New York Civil Liberties Union, Legal Aid Society, Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
The Associated Press reports a white police officer has been charged with assault after using a stun gun on a black man in Virginia.
Fairfax County police Officer Tyler Timberlake was trying to get the man into an ambulance to go to a detox center on Friday, according to body camera video shown at a news conference late on Saturday.
Timberlake is seen striking the man with a stun gun and then getting on top of him, along with the officer wearing the body camera. Once Timberlake is on top of the man, he presses the stun gun into the back of his neck and fires again.
“Together as a community, through our transparency, we will heal as a community,” Fairfax County police chief Edwin C Roessler Jr said. “This is behavior we shall not tolerate.”
Roessler said someone had called police about a man walking down a street shouting that he needed oxygen. An officer who responded before Timberlake had tried to deescalate the situation, the police chief said, adding that it’s unclear why Timberlake used his stun gun.
Our correspondents have looked at how the world has reacted to the protests in the US – and it doesn’t look like the president has improved his global standing over the last few weeks:
The events of the past week in America have had reverberations around the world. For years, part of the daily work of the US state department was to issue denunciations of police brutality, suppression of dissent, and instability in far-flung corners of the globe.
In recent days it has been the other way round. Friendly nations have expressed concern, less friendly governments have revelled in Washington’s discomfort.
In South Africa, where there have also been sporadic demonstrations, the ruling African National Congress party called for calm in the US.
“We are convinced that America – a beacon of freedom for many worldwide – has the ability to directly focus on healing and peace and achieve an outcome that prioritises respect for and promotion of fundamental freedoms for all Americans,” Naledi Pandor, the country’s international relations minister, said.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation was less restrained, arguing that systemic violence towards black Americans could justify a violent response.
“When communities are confronted by both resilient structural violence and attacks on their bodies, violent responses will occur,” the foundation said in a statement.
The reviews aren’t great in China either:
“Trump is tearing apart America. He doesn’t need to send the troops. This will hurt the US’s international image,” said a journalist based in Beijing who asked not to be named. “All of this is about the fight for justice, rights and equality. Whether it is Hong Kong or the US, people need to differentiate between violence and the fight for justice.”
“You can see an absolute absence of moral legitimacy in the activities of all great powers, from Putin in Crimea to Trump in Minnesota,” said Liu Yi, editor of international affairs at Sanlian Life Weekly, a magazine.
“When Trump was showing his hypocrisy and arrogance in the Minnesota issue, Chinese nationalists got more legitimacy to say ‘never criticise us again about Hong Kong’.”
You can read the full article here:
The army secretary, Ryan McCarthy, said the Pentagon did not want to deploy troops on the streets of Washington DC last week as protesters gathered on the streets. He said the Insurrection Act, which would have allowed Donald Trump, to deploy active military members in the protests was “heavily discussed” by the administration.
“[The soldiers] were on the outskirts cause we didn’t want to do it. The department of defense didn’t want to do it because we knew once we went to that escalation, it’s very very difficult,” McCarthy told reporters on Sunday. “We did everything we could to not cross that line.”
McCarthy added that out of state national guard would start leaving the city later on Sunday. “Effective 5pm this evening we will begin redeploying the out of state guardsmen starting with the state of Mississippi … as well as the state of Florida, Utah and Indiana,” McCarthy said.
Thousands of people have attended an anti-racism protest in Milan. Children born of foreign parents in Italy are not automatically eligible for citizenship until they reach 18 after continuously living in the country, and some protesters wanted to bring attention to legal reform on the question. There have been complaints that the children of foreigners aren’t considered Italians even though they have been born and raised in the country.
According to the Associated Press, “organizers on Sunday told participants that in Italy, the Black Lives Matter slogan means avoiding ‘seeing black bodies as if they’re foreigners’ and not as citizens.
The Guardian has published an editorial on the protests that have spread across the US – and the world – in the weeks since George Floyd’s killing by police.
George Floyd’s name is now known around the globe; his death has sparked protests from Berlin to Mexico City. The extraordinary cruelty of his killing has shocked the world. But his death has resonated so widely not because it was exceptional, but because it was not. Not exceptional in the US, where the toll of African Americans who have died at police hands is long and shameful. And not, unfortunately, exceptional elsewhere.
Tens of thousands gathered at the weekend in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow and other parts of the UK. In Bristol, protesters toppled a statue of slave trader Edward Colston. But the movement has also brought people on to the streets in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires; in Abuja and Nairobi; in Barcelona, Copenhagen and Paris. These marches express solidarity and outrage that the richest and most powerful country in the world should continue to treat its people this way. Demonstrators oppose the racial legacy it embodies, and the brutal, militarised police response to protests.
But though they honour the African American experience, they also recognise the commonality of black struggles elsewhere, and more broadly the fight for human rights. The words “I can’t breathe” are chillingly familiar. In Australia, they evoke the death of David Dungay, an Indigenous man who uttered those words 12 times as he was restrained by prison guards. In Britain, they were cried out by Jimmy Mubenga as security guards pinned the deportee to his plane seat.
You can read the full story here:
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said during his daily press briefing on Sunday that poor management was to blame for incidents of looting over the last week in New York City.
“The looting had nothing to do with protesting. Protesting is different,” Cuomo said. “You have looting, and you have protesting. You have apples, you have oranges. They’re different. Well the night of looting was the fault of the police officers? No, it wasn’t the fault of the protesters and it wasn’t the fault of the police officers, I said it was the management and deployment of the police officers.”
Like Washington DC’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, Cuomo said defunding police would not be helpful. “No police? You get looting. That’s what you get. Nobody wants that,” he said.
Chicago has now lifted its curfew.
“The curfew is lifted effective immediately,” wrote the city’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, on Twitter. “I know this time in our city and our country has been difficult for us all, and I’m grateful to our residents for working together to navigate this challenging time.”
It is estimated the largest protest in Chicago on Saturday drew around 20,000 people and proceeded peacefully, encouraging the mayor to lift the curfew.
Updated at 7.27pm BST
Crowds are beginning to gather in Washington DC for another day of protests. Meanwhile, the city’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, said there had been no arrests during Saturday’s protests in DC.
She also said she still believes she was correct to push back against Donald Trump’s decision to bring the national guard and additional federal officers on to the streets of the capital. “What we saw last week was basically an invasion of our city. Active-duty Army troops moved from all points around the country to threaten our autonomy,” Bowser said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “What you saw – and I won’t have it reduced to a spat – was how I have to defend our taxpayers.”
Despite widespread calls to defund police and make funds available to other sectors such as housing and healthcare, Bowser defended the city’s decision to increase law enforcement funding by m under a proposed new budget. “We have invested not a penny more and certainly not a penny less than we need for safe neighborhoods,” she said.
Richard Luscombe has news of Joe Biden’s plans for the week …
When Donald Trump spoke to George Floyd’s brother Philonise last month, ostensibly to express his sympathies, it didn’t go well.
“He didn’t give me an opportunity to even speak,” Floyd said. “I was trying to talk to him, but he just kept, like, pushing me off, like ‘I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about.”
In Houston on Monday the Floyd family will get the chance to talk face-to-face with the man challenging Trump for the White House in November, the presumptive Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden.
According to the New York Times, Biden will travel to Texas to meet the Floyd family ahead of Monday’s public memorial service, and a private funeral the following day.
Biden is not expected to attend either event, the newspaper says, because he does not want his presence to be a distraction. But as well as meeting with Floyd’s family, Biden will record a video message to play at Tuesday’s funeral.
“He wanted to offer in-person condolences,” the Times reported, citing people “familiar with the matter.”
The trip to Texas will be Biden’s first outside his home state of Delaware since the start of the pandemic lockdown, and his first public appearance since amassing enough delegates to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination on Friday.
On Wednesday, the day after his brother’s funeral, Philonise Floyd plans to give congressional testimony to the House judiciary committee’s hearing on police practices and law enforcement accountability.
Ending curfew a first step in long journey, say rights advocates.
Civil rights advocates in New York City called Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to lift the 8 pm curfew “a necessary step” in a “long journey” stopping police violence, while insisting far more needed to be done for true reform.
The New York Civil Liberties Union, Legal Aid Society, Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, and Center for Constitutional Rights had previously threatened to sue if de Blasio extended this curfew beyond Sunday. There have been numerous accounts of New York Police Department members using excessive force at protests following the killing of George Floyd.
After immense pressure from protesters and the threat of a lawsuit we had prepared to file today, Mayor de Blasio has lifted New York City’s curfew, a blunt tool of state-sanctioned oppression used to silence legitimate protest. The City’s focus should not be on silencing protest and resistance, but on ending anti-Black police violence and impunity,” Black and LGBTQ-headed organizations, protesters, legal observers, and medical workers said in a joint statement. “Eliminating the curfew was a necessary step in stopping the cycle of police violence and silencing the mass of voices demanding recognition and dignity for Black Lives. No longer will the NYPD be able to use curfew enforcement as justification for their attacks and arrests on protesters, essential workers, journalists, and bystanders.”
The statement said that they are monitoring the situation as protests continue, and are “ready to sue if the mayor reinstates the curfew or considers other measures to restrict free speech.”
They said that state lawmakers must “fully repeal” a law that shields police misconduct records from the public. They also called for “truly independent investigations” when a person dies or endures abuse during a police encounter — not inquiries conducted by the police. They also said the New York City Council “needs to cut police funding, scale back police involvement in our schools, and divert resources toward services that will benefit the community.”
Updated at 6.47pm BST
George Floyd’s body has arrived in Houston ahead of a memorial service and burial in the coming days.
Floyd, who was killed by police in Minnesota last week, spent most of his life in Houston where he had been a high-school football star. There will be a public viewing and memorial service in Houston on Monday before he is buried on Tuesday next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd. A memorial service for family was held on Saturday near his birthplace in North Carolina.
“At the request of the family, his entry was made private. He was led to Fort Bend Memorial Planning Center by Houston Police Department,” a statement on behalf of his family read. “Mr Floyd will be buried directly next to his mother on Tuesday.”
The Episcopal bishop of Washington DC, Mariann Budde, has renewed her criticism of Donald Trump in a sermon on Sunday. Budde said she was “outraged” last week when law enforcement used pepper spray and rubber bullets to clear a crowd of peaceful protesters from near the White House so the president could attend a photo opportunity at a local church.
On Sunday, Budde contrasted Trump with Washington’s mayor, Muriel Bowser.
“The president of the United States threatened to use military force against American citizens. And then proceeded to use federal officers to disperse peaceful protesters outside of the White House,” said Budde. “The African American mayor of this city stood her ground. She stood the ground for all of us. The debt to black America in this democracy continues.”
US attorney general Bill Barr says he does not believe there is systemic racism within US law enforcement. And yet we hear about incidents like the one below every day.
Officials in Providence, Rhode Island, have apologised to a black firefighter after he said police drew guns on him as he sat in a car outside his fire station last week.
In an interview that has been viewed more than a million times on social media, said he was in uniform and talking to a friend when two police officers approached with their guns drawn asking if he was armed.
“I was dressed in full uniform and had my radio in hand,” Paci said in an interview with WPRI-TV. “I was like, ‘I’m a firefighter, I’m PFD, I’m one of you don’t shoot,’ and they still kept approaching the vehicle with guns drawn.”
Providence’s mayor, Jorge Elorza, called the incident “disturbing”. Providence’s police department said it is investigating the incident.
“No one should have to experience something like this and we apologize on behalf of our city for the trauma it has caused,” the Democratic mayor said in a statement. “We stand with Firefighter Paci and thank him for his unwavering dedication to a city that he protects everyday through his service.”
Paci said a Providence police sergeant visited the fire station to apologise for the incident.
Thousands of people have attended a protest in Brussels that has taken in Belgium’s colonial past. Members of the crowd chanted “murderer” as protesters climbed a statue of King Leopold II and unfurled the the flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Leopold was king of the Belgians from 1865 to 1909 and effectively ran the Congo as his own private company, exploiting the region’s natural wealth while brutalising its inhabitants.
Alicia Garza, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, has appeared on NBC’s Meet The Press to discuss calls to defund the police.
She said that such calls do not mean abolishing law enforcement but rather investing money in other areas.
“When we talk about defunding the police, what we’re saying is invest in the resources that our communities need,” she said. “So much of policing right now is generated and directed towards quality of life issues … But what we do need is increased funding for housing, we need increased funding for education, we need increased funding for the quality of life of communities who are over-policed and over-surveilled.
“… Black Lives Matter is not just a radical idea … everyone can agree that we don’t have the things that we need to live well, and that we are using policing and law enforcement in a way that far exceeds its utility.”
Philadelphia has become the latest city to lift its curfew:
The number of deaths from Covid-19 in America has reached 109,846, with confirmed cases now numbering 1,922,054, Johns Hopkins University data reveal.
New York City, the center of America’s Covid-19 outbreak, has suffered at least 21,294 deaths and 211,274 cases, according to the New York Times.
As US coronavirus fatalities are nearing the grim milestone of 110,000, reopening efforts are expanding across America. Meanwhile, ongoing mass protests over the killing of George Floyd have challenged social-distancing guidelines.
Questions over Covid-19 policy are perhaps most pressing in New York City, as it’s expected to start reopening on 8 June. Construction and manufacturing, in addition to retail conducted on the curbside or through in-store drop-off and pick-up, are poised to be permitted.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates New York City’s subways and buses, has announced a 13-point plan. It includes mandatory face coverings, and the provision of masks, as well as intensified cleaning and disinfecting efforts. Service will be increased to enable social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be at stations throughout the system, ABC 7 reports.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged every resident to get tested for Covid, especially those who attended recent demonstrations. A mobile testing program is expected to launch in the coming days.
Meanwhile, public safety agencies are bracing for PTSD and trauma-related issues amongst first responders who fought the pandemic, ramping up access to mental health services, the New York Daily News reports.
Updated at 5.25pm BST
Black Lives Matters protesters in Bristol have pulled down a statue of the slave trader Edward Colston.
Demonstrators in the British city attached a rope to the grade II listed statue on Colston Avenue on Sunday before pulling it to the ground as crowds cheered.
They then jumped on it and rolled it down the street to the harbour before pushing it into the river Avon.
The 18ft bronze statue, erected in 1895, has long been a focal point for anger at the city’s role in the slave trade and the continued commemoration of those who were involved in it.
A petition to remove it had garnered more than 11,000 signatures. It said: “Whilst history shouldn’t be forgotten, these people who benefited from the enslavement of individuals do not deserve the honour of a statue. This should be reserved for those who bring about positive change and who fight for peace, equality and social unity.”
Colston’s company transported more than 100,000 slaves from West Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas between 1672 and 1689, cramming them into ships to maximise profit.
The slaves, including women and children, were branded on their chests with the company’s initials, RAC. Unhygienic conditions, dehydration, dysentery and scurvy killed more than 20,000 during the crossings and their bodies were thrown overboard.
You can read the full story here:
Updated at 5.22pm BST
Guardian columnist Nesrine Malik offers a counterpoint to US attorney general William Barr’s assertion that systemic racism does not exist in American law enforcement:
When a black CNN reporter was arrested live on air last week while covering the protests in Minneapolis, it was met with denunciation that something like this could happen in the US. It was “a sign of American disintegration”, wrote the Washington Post. The head of civil liberties group PEN America called it a “dystopian spectacle”. On social media, the accompanying indignation to his arrest was that: “This is America, arresting journalists for doing their job doesn’t happen here.” But the list of things that don’t supposedly happen in America continues to grow. Peaceful protesters don’t get teargassed: this is America. Presidents don’t threaten to unleash troops on those protesting against killing and oppression: this is America.
For black and minority ethnic people, the country has always been the America of an immune police force, white supremacy and a legal system that protects only those who can afford it. The Trump administration is simply suspending convention, ditching the pretence of pious protocol and ritual that has always been central to the survival of the “not in America” myth. This has always been America, what’s different is that it no longer feels the need to hide its true nature.
Since Donald Trump became president, non-Americans have taken to drawing tongue-in-cheek comparisons between America and Arab dictatorships – its fetishising of the military, its president’s clumsy and vulgar stabs at religiosity, its centuries-old ethnic tension erupting in clashes – but even these jokes now wear thin. Because since George Floyd’s death, since the government and institutions of sanctioned violence have bared their teeth, the US’s flattering view of itself has taken such a battering that jokes are no longer needed to do the job.
Those clutching their pearls at assaults on the media and police brutality hold dear the belief that America’s inherent virtue will prevail, even as police officers hammer it with batons on mobile phone footage. American exceptionalism is the proverbial cockroach weathering a nuclear attack – it survives everything. It survives school shootings, the suspension of due process in Guantánamo Bay, and the torture and killing of millions of innocent civilians from Vietnam to Iraq. It is at this moment surviving despite the US having the highest coronavirus death toll in the world.
You can read the full article below:
Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters have gathered outside the US embassy in London. Here’s video of the demonstration:
You can read more on the protests in London here:
Updated at 4.53pm BST
Admiral James Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander at Nato, has joined the growing list of retired US military leaders to condemn Donald Trump.
The president has talked about “dominating” protesters over the last few weeks. During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Stavridis dismissed Trump’s comments. “This is not a battlespace to be dominated. These are zones of protest to be protected,” he said.
He was also asked what advice he would give General Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, if Trump wants to invoke the Insurrection Act.
“As an active-duty officer, he’s really got two choices here,” said Stavridis. “One is to follow the orders, and the other is to reach up on to his shoulder, grab those four stars and say ‘Sir. I cannot execute that order. I believe it violates my conscience, my view. I gave you my best military advice. You’ve rejected it.’ That’s a very hard place for any active-duty military officer to go. I hope General Milley doesn’t have to hit that point.”
Updated at 4.57pm BST
Barr denies White House protesters were peaceful.
One of the most controversial moments of the protests over the last week came when law enforcement used pepper spray and rubber bullets to clear a crowd at Lafayette Square near the White House, so that Donald Trump could pose for a photo outside a local church.
CBS’s Margaret Brennan said three of her colleagues had been in Lafayette Square and the protest had been peaceful. “They were not peaceful protesters,” said Barr, who has been accused for ordering the clearing of the crowd. “And that’s one of the big lies that the- the media is- seems to be perpetuating at this point … Police have to move protesters, sometimes peaceful demonstrators, for a short distance in order to accomplish public safety, and that’s what was done here.”
He also denied that law enforcement had used chemical irritants on the crowd because “pepper spray is not a chemical irritant”. Police issued a similar denial last week before going back on their initial statement.
Brennan finished the interview by asking Barr if he would have done anything differently in hindsight. “I haven’t studied the events retrospectively in detail, but I think in general, you had the qualified law enforcement officials with shields warning and moving a line slowly. They had mounted officers moving slowly, directing people to move. And most people complied.”
Updated at 4.39pm BST
Barr denies US law enforcement is systemically racist
Barr then agreed with Chad Wolf, the acting homeland security secretary, that there is no systemic racism in US law enforcement.
“I think there’s racism in the United States still but I don’t think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist,” said Barr. “I understand the … the distrust, however, of the African American community given the history in this country. I think we have to recognize that for most of our history, our institutions were explicitly racist. Since the 1960s, I think we’ve been in a phase of reforming our institutions and making sure that they’re in sync with our laws and aren’t fighting a rearguard action to impose inequities.”
Barr added that he thinks policies to address racism within the police are working. “I think the reform is a difficult task, but I think it is working and progress has been made,” said Barr. “I think one of the best examples is the military. The military used to be explicitly racist institution. And now I think it’s in the vanguard of bringing the races together and providing equal opportunity. I think law enforcement has been going through the same process.”
The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington has looked at how Donald Trump’s policies have harmed efforts to reform the police:
Updated at 4.40pm BST
US attorney general says troops were only a last resort.
The US attorney general, William Barr, has appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation to talk about the White House’s response to protests against the death of George Floyd in Washington DC. He was first asked about the decision to have military troops on standby to respond to US citizens exercising their right to protest.
“I think our position was common, which was that they should only be deployed … as a last resort and that we didn’t think we would need them. I think everyone was on the same page,” he said.
Reports emerged last week that Donald Trump wanted 10,000 active troops to be ordered on to the streets of America to police the protests. Barr denied that accusation on Sunday. “The president never asked or suggested that we needed to deploy regular troops at that point,” he said.
Updated at 4.39pm BST
As protests following the killing of George Floyd sweep US cities on a scale not seen in decades, there is huge debate around what reforms police forces must make, amid surging support to defund them. Some police departments have taken steps to address long-criticized tactics and excessive use-of-force.
- Bystander video showed how now-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck until he stopped moving. Minneapolis agreed on 5 June to bar chokeholds and neck restraints by police. The city council also agreed to a requirement that officers try stopping colleagues from engaging in improper use of force, reports the Associated Press. The reforms, part of an agreement between Minneapolis and Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights, require court approval. But unlike the police department’s present regulations – which already call for officers to try stopping misuse of force – this change would be enforceable in court, per AP.
- The Los Angeles Times reports more than one dozen California police agencies have recently announced that they would prevent officers from employing carotid neck restraints. California governor Gavin Newsom said that he’s directing police agencies to cease training officers in carotid restraints.
- Dallas, Texas officials announced on 5 June that chokeholds – and any airway-restricting techniques – would be formally barred. The city also said it would implement by 12 June a mandate to warn people before shooting. Previously, police officials said they had enacted a policy mandating that officers intervene in situations with inappropriate use-of-force, reports the Dallas Morning News.
- The Reno, Nevada police department on 5 June announced immediate policy changes, such as barring tactics that restrict breathing and revamped guidelines on deescalation. The changes also include giving persons “other warning options” prior to using deadly force, AP reports.
Homeland security secretary says there is no systemic racism in police
Chad Wolf, the acting homeland security secretary, says he does not belief there is systemic racism within US police. Wolf was asked the question on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, by host Martha Raddatz, who pointed out African Americans are killed by police at twice the rate of white Americans.
“I do not think that we have a systemic racism problem with law enforcement officers across this country,” said Wolf. “Do I acknowledge that there are some law enforcement officers that abuse their jobs? Yes. And again, we need to hold those accountable. And I would say that there are individuals in every profession across this country that probably abuse their authority and their power …
“I think painting law enforcement with a broad brush of systemic racism is really a disservice to the men and women who put on the badge, the uniform every day. Risk their lives every day to protect the American people, to protect them so that they can go to school. They can have a business and come home safe to their families. So I think we need to keep that in mind as well.”
Florida congresswoman and former Orlando police chief, Val Demings, was also on the show and disagreed with Wolf’s comments.
“If we’re going to solve some of America’s toughest problems, we’ve got to be painfully honest about what those problems are,” she said. “And we know that we have been fighting systemic racism in this country for 400 years. We know that it has found its – or reared its ugly head in law enforcement agencies, in housing, in education, in – in too many other places. And so while I heard what the secretary said, we have a lot of work to do. And systemic racism is always the ghost in the room.”
Demings, who is a potential running mate for Joe Biden in November, spoke about her own experiences after a 27-year career as a police officer in Orlando.
“I’ve worked beside some of the bravest men and women with hearts big as gold that America has to offer,” he said. “Was everybody perfect? Were we completely perfect? Of course not. But what I have seen across the nation involving law enforcement officers and their reaction, in many instances unprovoked, has been extremely troubling. And what we have to do as a nation is hold police accountable, provide the necessary oversight to do that, look at training standards, look at use of force policies, look at who we are hiring, look at diversity within those agencies, and come together and create legislation that will support initiatives like that.”
Donald Trump has said the national guard are withdrawing from Washington DC.
“I have just given an order for our National Guard to start the process of withdrawing from Washington, D.C., now that everything is under perfect control,” wrote the president on Twitter. “They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed. Far fewer protesters showed up last night than anticipated!”
The president also continued his tactic of positioning himself as a law and order candidate by saying Joe Biden would defund the police if elected president. “Not only will Sleepy Joe Biden DEFUND THE POLICE, but he will DEFUND OUR MILITARY!,” he tweeted. “He has no choice, the Dems are controlled by the Radical Left.”
According to Reuters, Biden has in fact “called for a 0m investment in policing, contingent on officers mirroring the diversity of their communities.” However, Reuters also reported that Biden said he agreed with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to cut some of the city’s police budget and reinvest it in areas such as health and education. Biden, however, added that such decisions should vary from community to community.
You can read more about Trump’s decision to embrace law and order – and the similarity to tactics used by Richard Nixon – below:
Updated at 3.23pm BST
Our correspondent in Rome, Angela Giuffrida, has news of protests in Italy:
Demonstrators filled Rome’s Piazza del Popolo on Sunday, joining protests taking place across the world against racism.
People knelt down and remained there with their fists raised for eight minutes and 46 seconds in tribute to George Floyd, while chanting “I can’t breathe”.
There were placards bearing messages in English, including “No justice, no peace” and “we are all anti-fascist”. Protesters also called for citizenship rights to be granted to migrants in Italy. “They die in our house and we don’t even know their names: black lives matter,” read one sign.
The protest followed several smaller events in Rome and other Italian cities in recent days.
Meanwhile, in the UK, protesters in Bristol have pulled down a statue of Edward Colston, a 17th-century slave trader:
Updated at 3.07pm BST
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted between in the days following the death of George Floyd shows 80% of voters believe the US is out of control.
“[It’s] one of the few things Americans can agree upon, and the one finding that we can definitively state given the tumult and torment of the past 12 days,” said Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who helped conduct the poll, which was taken before job figures that were not as bad as some people feared were released last week.
Joe Biden maintained his lead over Donald Trump (49% to 42%) among voters in the poll, but the president’s approval rating remained steady in the mid-40s. “Those are remarkable findings that speak to the power of our partisan silos,” said Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, which also helped conduct the poll.
Biden led Trump among African Americans (82% to 9%), Latinos (57% to 33 %), women (56% to 35%), voters ages 18 to 34 (54% to 35%), whites with college degrees (52% to 39%), and those ages 65 and older (51% to 43%).
Trump, meanwhile, led with all white voters (49% to 43%), men (50% to 42%) and whites without college degrees (55% to 37%).
Trump still had better ratings on the economy compared to Biden (48% to 37%), while Biden held advantages in healthcare (49% to 34%) and uniting the country (51% to 26%).
Updated at 2.53pm BST
Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, is now on CNN.
Carson says he is proud of those who peacefully protest and horrified by those looted after the killing of George Floyd.
Carson is asked about his call to unite the nation, and whether Trump’s demonising of his opponents on Twitter will help the US heal. “I would ask you to reserve judgement until you hear from the president,” he says.
Jake Tapper then asks Carson if he believes systemic racism exists in the US. Carson says he grew up in a time of systemic racism and there are racists now but it is easier now to address the problem than in the past. He says there are “rogue” police officers who are racist but most want to address the problem. He also says there are “anarchists” who want to destabilise the US, presumably a reference to Trump blaming trouble at protests on Antifa.
Colin Powell says Donald Trump ‘lies all the time’; will vote for Biden
The former secretary state, and retired general, Colin Powell is on CNN’s State of the Union show.
He is asked about other generals who have criticized Donald Trump, such as James Mattis.
“You have to agree with [the criticism], look at what Trump has done to divide us,” says Powell. “He is being offensive to our allies … so yes I agree with [Mattis and other generals who have criticized Trump] … We have a Constitution. We have to follow that Constitution. And the president’s drifted away from it. I’m so proud of what these generals and admirals have done and others have done”
Powell then talks about the protests of the last few weeks. “We are at turning points,” he says. “The Republican party and the president thought they were immune and could say anything. He lies, he lies about things and he gets away with things because people [in the Republican party] will not hold him accountable.”
Powell, who was secretary of state under a Republican, George W Bush, is asked if he will vote for Joe Biden in November. “Biden is now the candidate and I will be voting for him,” he confirms. “…I think Trump has been not an effective president. He lies all the time. He began lying the day of the inauguration when we got into an argument about the size of the crowd that was there. People are writing books about his favorite thing of lying. And I don’t think that’s in our interest.”
Powell says the president is doing nothing to heal the country at a time of civil unrest. “He is not in any way that I recognize. He is always shooting towards his base,” says Powell.
Jake Tapper ends the interview by asking Powell why he thinks it is important that Trump is not reelected. “[Trump] lies all the time … he began lying on inauguration day. Use your common sense, ask if this is good for your country before you ask if it’s good for you. Look at these protests, embrace them rather than curse them. Make America great for all Americans.”
Updated at 3.16pm BST
Black Lives Matter protests are building across the UK for a second consecutive day, including in Edinburgh.
New York city curfew lifted
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has lifted a citywide 8 pm curfew that drew extensive criticism for intensifying tensions between protesters and police — including numerous accounts of brutality against participants in demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd.
De Blasio announced the change in a Tweet Sunday morning, which stated: “New York City: We are lifting the curfew, effective immediately. Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city.”
“Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart. Keep staying safe. Keep looking out for each other,” de Blasio’s post also said.
The curfew, which initially was from 11 pm to 5 am but made earlier following looting, was originally poised to end Sunday night, in keeping with the city’s gradual reopening. Police largely eased up on enforcing this curfew Saturday, as protesters continued to congregate after the deadline to return home.
On 8 June, New York City is poised to enter “Phase One” of re-opening, which means that construction and manufacturing, as well as retail conducted on the curbside or though in-store drop-off and pick-up, will be permitted.
Updated at 1.50pm BST
Prague has witnessed its biggest public gathering in months after several hundred people marched through the city’s medieval streets demonstrating against racism and the killing of George Floyd.
Placard-carrying protesters chanting slogans including “Black Lives Matter” and “Goerge Floyd, say his name” congregated in the Czech capital’s landmark Old Town Square before marching to the US embassy in the Mala Strana neighbourhood.
Police officers wearing face-masks against the spread of Covid-19 escorted the marchers across the 600-year-old Charles Bridge, showing no reaction as demonstrators – many also wearing masks – shouted: “No justice, no peace. Fuck the police.”
Most of those present were white, including many foreign expatriates. The Czech Republic has a small ethnic minority population.
Saturday’s event – organised by a group called For Human Decency – had initially been cancelled amid continuing concerns about coronavirus but eventually went ahead following assurances about precautionary measures.
It was the first demonstration staged in Prague since the pandemic prompted the authorities to declare a state of emergency and impose a nationwide lockdown in March.
Public events of up to 300 people have been allowed since 22 May, as the lockdown has eased, with the requirement to wear masks outdoors lifted three days later. Gatherings of up to 500 will be permitted from Monday 8 June.
Several European cities have seen mass gatherings in sympathy with similar protests in the US following the death of Floyd, an African-American man who died in Minneapolis on 25 May after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
But Saturday appeared to mark the first time capitals of former communist countries had seen such events, with the exception of Berlin, which was divided between the communist east and capitalist west during the Cold War. A similar demonstration was reported on Saturday in Warsaw.
Last week, a protest was staged outside the US consulate in the Polish city of Krakow, where gatherers lit candles.
On Sunday, demonstrators reportedly gathered outside the US embassy in Budapest for what was described as “an anti-racism solidarity” protest.
George Floyd’s killing and the subsequent protests continue to be a powerful catalyst for conversations about race around the world. This morning in the UK, former Liverpool and England football John Barnes told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday that structural racism in Britain was just as bad as in the US.
“[The UK] hasn’t got a problem like the US in terms of our policemen killing black people on the streets as we saw with George Floyd,” Barnes said. “However, in terms of the disenfranchisement of the inner cities, in terms of the black community not being given access to healthcare and so forth, jobs, housing, it’s exactly the same.”
He said that people should be “equally as outraged” about structural inequalities as individual incidents: “What we are witnessing in the US, which has outraged people, is the visible face of racism and the visible face of racism in terms of footballers being abused, the George Floyd situation and the police, it is an obvious and easy thing to be outraged about. We should be equally as outraged about the fact that our young blacks in inner cities aren’t given an education, they aren’t given housing and job promotion possibilities.”
“They were 48 minutes of mayhem that shook the republic,” writes my colleague David Smith of US president Donald Trump’s photo-op at St John’s church in Washington DC, in a piece published today.
With a bizarre pageant of riots shields, a Bible and a designer handbag, they also represented what could be Donald Trump’s last best chance of clinging to power.
Before sunset last Monday, the US president stood in the White House Rose Garden, threatened to turn the American military on the American people and declared: “I am your president of law and order.”
Beyond the perimeter fence, park police and national guard troops fired teargas and chased away peaceful protesters so Trump could cross the road to the fire-damaged St John’s church. Trump was joined by officials including his daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka, clutching a ,540 handbag. The self-anointed strongman posed for the cameras while awkwardly holding aloft a Bible – or was it the Richard Nixon playbook?
You can read the full story here:
Hello, welcome to our live coverage of the ongoing protests against racism and police brutality in the US and around the world, now into their second week since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May.
On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans took to the streets, in big cities and small towns, from coast to coast, marking one of the the largest and widest mobilisations yet.
You can read our wrap of the day here:
The demonstrations have continued into the early morning in some places on the west coast including in Seattle, one of the few cities to witness clashes between police and protesters on Saturday. Officers are reported to have fired stun grenades to disperse protesters and say they were targeted with rocks, bottles and improvised explosives. Journalists at the scene say there is an uneasy standoff between the two lines now but no violent flare ups.
Updated at 11.40am BST
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