The protests over the death of George Floyd, an African American man, escalated on Sunday as the police and protestors clashed outside the White House, reported AP. While the police fired tear gas to disperse the 1,000-plus crowd during the sixth night of nationwide demonstrations, protestors lit fire on piled up road signs and plastic barriers.
Derek Chauvin, a former white Minneapolis police officer, and three other officials had detained Floyd on Monday after he allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a store. Outrage grew after a widely shared video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The 46-year-old restaurant worker was seen gasping for breath and pleading with the officials saying, “I can’t breathe”. All four officers were fired this week over Floyd’s death. Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the night curfew till 6 am on Monday. She added that the National Guard has been activated to support the police. Other major cities like Los Angeles, Houston and Minneapolis, which has been the epicenter of the unrest, have also imposed night curfews to control the civil protest. More than 1,300 people have been arrested in 16 cities since Thursday, including over 500 on Friday in Los Angeles, according to AP.
Tension on Sunday started brewing as protestors swelled in numbers an hour before curfew timings began at 11 pm. The police fired tear gas to clear Lafayette Park across the street from the White House. In response, the protestors set barricades and road signs on fire. A car was set ablaze and a few men were seen running along the road swinging baseball bats at vehicles, reported The Guardian.
In a separate protest in Northwest DC, near the Maryland border, the police department said there were break-ins at a shopping center. Several people have been detained, the police added. There were other large-scale protests in cities such as New York and Miami.
Outside the state capitol in Minneapolis’ twin city of St Paul, several thousand people gathered before marching down a highway. “We have black sons, black brothers, black friends, we don’t want them to die,” Muna Abdi, a 31-year-old black woman who joined the protest, told AFP. “We are tired of this happening, this generation is not having it, we are tired of oppression. I want to make sure he [her three-year-old son] stays alive.”