Monday, May 17

George Floyd: New York and Washington see security ease

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Getty Images

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National Guardsmen watch on as a protester demonstrates in Washington DC

Security measures in the US have been lifted as unrest over the death in police custody of African-American George Floyd eases.

New York ended its nearly week-long curfew and President Donald Trump said he was ordering the National Guard to start withdrawing from Washington DC.

The unrest has largely been replaced by largely peaceful worldwide protests against racism and police brutality.

Black Lives Matter protests continued on Sunday in European nations.

George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on 25 May. Video showed him pinned to the floor, with a white police officer kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes.

Officer Derek Chauvin has been dismissed and charged with murder. Three other officers who were at the scene have also been sacked and charged with aiding and abetting.

Mr Floyd’s funeral is scheduled for Tuesday in Houston, his home city before he moved to Minneapolis.

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is due to travel to Texas on Monday to meet Mr Floyd’s family ahead of the service and offer his condolences, two senior aides told Reuters news agency. He is not expected to attend the funeral.

Mr Biden also took to Twitter on Sunday to hit out at Mr Trump’s handling of the protests, saying he had “callously used his [words as a president] to incite violence, stoke the flames of hatred and division, and drive us further apart”.

Hours earlier, President Trump had tweeted that the National Guard could start withdrawing from the capital as “everything is under perfect control”.

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Media caption“Keep pushing”: Washington DC protesters on keeping the momentum going

“They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed. Far fewer protesters showed up last night than anticipated!” he said.

The National Guard is the reserve military force that can be called on by the US president or state governors to intervene in domestic emergencies.

Washington had seen angry protests outside the White House, particularly last Monday when demonstrators were cleared for Mr Trump to walk to a nearby church.

Saturday’s massive protest in the capital was peaceful.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted: “We are lifting the curfew, effective immediately. Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city.”

The end of the curfew comes a day before New York enters the first phase of its plan to reopen after more than two months of lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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New York City police approach people out after the 20:00 curfew on Friday

“Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart. Keep staying safe. Keep looking out for each other,” Mr de Blasio said.

New York has seen its fair share of violence in the past week, with looting of luxury stores in Manhattan, scores of arrests and the burning of dozens of police cars.

There were also accusations against the police, including the beating of protesters. One patrol car was also driven into a crowd of protesters, sparking a row between politicians.

Many major US cities that saw unrest have now lifted curfews, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, although a few protests have still led to clashes.

Where are protests continuing now?

Sunday has seen more demonstrations taking place across Europe under the banner of Black Lives Matter.

In Madrid, thousands of people marched carrying anti-racism placards and wearing masks to observe coronavirus measures, although images showed social distancing was not being followed.

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Getty Images

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A huge protest was held in Madrid on Sunday

Outside the US embassy in Madrid, protesters shouted “I can’t breathe”, echoing Mr Floyd’s last words. Others took a knee to observe the mark of protest that originated in the US against police brutality and racism.

Similar protests were held in Rome, where protesters fell silent for roughly the same time that George Floyd was pinned down.

There have also been events in Brussels, Copenhagen and in several places in the UK.

Protesters in Bristol tore down a statue of Edward Colston, a prominent 17th Century slave trader.

What happened on Saturday?

Huge peaceful rallies took place across the US.

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington DC, in the city’s largest protest so far, many of them at the newly renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza outside Lafayette Park.

There were also massive protests in San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles.

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Media captionThe US’s history of racial inequality has paved the way for modern day police brutality

There was even a protest in the small, east Texas town of Vidor, once infamous as a Ku Klux Klan stronghold.

Dozens of white and black protesters carrying Black Lives Matter banners rallied in a place previously known as a “sundown town” because blacks did not venture out after dark.

Though the vast majority of protests were peaceful, both Portland and Seattle saw unrest on Saturday night, with projectiles thrown and arrests made.

Meanwhile, people paid their respects to Mr Floyd in North Carolina, where he was born, with a memorial service held.

More on George Floyd’s death

US protests timeline

Tributes to George Floyd at a makeshift memorial
Image caption Tributes to George Floyd at a makeshift memorial

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George Floyd dies after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Footage shows a white officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he is pinned to the floor. Mr Floyd is heard repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”. He is pronounced dead later in hospital.

Demonstrators in Minneapolis
Image caption Demonstrators in Minneapolis

Image copyright by AFP

Four officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd are fired. Protests begin as the video of the arrest is shared widely on social media. Hundreds of demonstrators take to the streets of Minneapolis and vandalise police cars and the police station with graffiti.

Protesters lie on the streets in Portland, Oregon
Image caption Protesters lie on the streets in Portland, Oregon

Image copyright by Reuters

Protests spread to other cities including Memphis and Los Angeles. In some places, like Portland, Oregon, protesters lie in the road, chanting “I can’t breathe”. Demonstrators again gather around the police station in Minneapolis where the officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest were based and set fire to it. The building is evacuated and police retreat.

President Trump tweets about the unrest
Image caption President Trump tweets about the unrest

Image copyright by Reuters

President Trump blames the violence on a lack of leadership in Minneapolis and threatens to send in the National Guard in a tweet.  He follows it up in a second tweet with a warning “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. The second tweet is hidden by Twitter for “glorifying violence”.

Members of a CNN crew are arrested at a protest
Image caption Members of a CNN crew are arrested at a protest

Image copyright by Reuters

A CNN reporter, Omar Jimenez, is arrested while covering the Minneapolis protest. Mr Jimenez was reporting live when police officers handcuffed him. A few minutes later several of his colleagues are also arrested. They are all later released once they are confirmed to be members of the media.

Derek Chauvin charged with murder

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after being charged over the death of George Floyd
Image caption Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after being charged over the death of George Floyd

Image copyright by Getty Images

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, is charged with murder and manslaughter. The charges carry a combined maximum 35-year sentence.

Demonstrators set fire to rubbish in New York
Image caption Demonstrators set fire to rubbish in New York

Image copyright by Reuters

Violence spreads across the US on the sixth night of protests. A total of at least five people are reported killed in protests from Indianapolis to Chicago. More than 75 cities have seen protests. At least 4,400 people have been arrested.  Curfews are imposed across the US to try to stem the unrest.

Trump posing with a Bible outside a boarded-up church
Image caption Trump posing with a Bible outside a boarded-up church

Image copyright by EPA

President Trump threatens to send in the military to quell growing civil unrest. He says if cities and states fail to control the protests and “defend their residents” he will deploy the army and “quickly solve the problem for them”. Mr Trump poses in front of a damaged church shortly after police used tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters nearby.

George Floyd’s family joined protesters in Houston
Image caption George Floyd’s family joined protesters in Houston

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Tens of thousands of protesters again take to the streets. One of the biggest protests is in George Floyd’s hometown of Houston, Texas. Many defy curfews in several cities, but the demonstrations are largely peaceful.

Mourners gather to remember George Floyd
Image caption Mourners gather to remember George Floyd

Image copyright by Getty

A memorial service for George Floyd is held in Minneapolis.  Those gathered in tribute stand in silence for eight minutes, 46 seconds, the amount of time Mr Floyd is alleged to have been on the ground under arrest. Hundreds attended the service, which heard a eulogy from civil rights activist Rev Al Sharpton.

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