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Thousands join new US anti-racism protests as Trump vows crackdown

Thousands join new US anti-racism protests as Trump vows crackdown

AFP
Minneapolis
Authorities imposed curfews in the capital Washington and other major US cities on Sunday to prevent fresh rioting after anti-racism protestors again took to the streets to voice their fury at police brutality.
As the Trump administration branded instigators of five nights of rioting domestic terrorists, there were more confrontations between protestors and police and fresh outbreaks of looting.
Local leaders appealed to citizens to give constructive outlet to their rage over the death of an unarmed black man, while night-time curfews were imposed in cities such as Washington, Los Angeles, Houston and Minneapolis, which has been the epicentre of unrest.
The most closely-watched protest was outside the state capitol in Minneapolis’ twin city of St. Paul where several thousand people gathered before marching down a highway.
“We have black sons, black brothers, black friends, we don’t want them to die. We are tired of this happening, this generation is not having it, we are tired of oppression,” said Muna Abdi, a 31-year-old black woman who joined the protest.
“I want to make sure he stays alive,” she added in reference to her son aged three.
Hundreds of police and National Guard troops were deployed ahead of the protest.
At one point, some of the protestors who had reached a bridge were forced to run for cover when a truck drove at speed after having apparently breached a barricade.
The driver was later taken to hospital after the protestors hauled him from the vehicle although there were no immediate reports of other casualties.
There were other large-scale protests in cities such as New York, Miami and Washington where riot police lined up outside the White House as the crowds gathered at a nearby park.
Washington’s mayor issued a curfew order from 11:00 pm until 6:00 am as a report in the New York Times said that President Donald Trump had been rushed by Secret Service agents into an underground bunker at the White House on Friday night during another protest.
While there was no immediate repeat of the large-scale violence that has rocked cities in recent days, looters ransacked stores in a neighbourhood of Philadelphia.
And in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, looting was reported at stores in a popular beachside shopping center with people running out of stores that had been broken into.
Officials in LA -- a city scarred by riots over the police beating of Rodney King nearly three decades ago -- imposed a curfew from 4:00 pm Sunday until dawn.
“Please, use your discretion and go early, go home, stay home and help us make sure that those who want to change this conversation from being about racial justice to be about burning things and looting things, don’t win the day,” the city’s mayor Eric Garcetti said on CNN.
The shocking videotaped death last Monday of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis ignited the nationwide wave of outrage over law enforcement’s repeated use of lethal force against unarmed African Americans.
Floyd stopped breathing after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder; three other officers with him have been fired but for now face no charges.
Governor Tim Walz has mobilised all of Minnesota’s National Guard troops -- the state guard’s biggest mobilisation ever -- to help restore order.
Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to clear streets of curfew violators Saturday night in Minneapolis.
Walz extended a curfew for a third night Sunday and praised police and guardsmen for holding down violence, saying, “They did so in a professional manner. They did so without a single loss of life and minimal property damage.” “Congratulations to our National Guard for the great job they did immediately upon arriving in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last night,” President Donald Trump said.