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Protests Today Live: News Updates and Video

2020-06-02 10:56:06
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After a week of unrest, Trump threatens to deploy the military on U.S. streets.

Stores along some of Manhattan’s most prized shopping streets were ransacked, broken glass littered Fifth Avenue, and boarded-up windows at Macy’s flagship store testified to the looting of the night before. In Los Angeles, residents were warned overnight to avoid Hollywood because of looting “on foot and via caravans.”

Across the United States, the police arrested hundreds of people, and scores of protesters and officers reported being injured in clashes.

That was how a seventh day of largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd descended into another night of chaos marked by violence and destruction.

A nation that was already reeling from a pandemic that has claimed more than 100,000 lives, sent the economy into a tailspin not seen since the Great Depression and forced millions to shelter at home for months is now confronting the most widespread civil unrest in half a century.

The latest from around the country:

That episode followed an attack on Monday in Buffalo, N.Y., when the driver of an S.U.V. sped through a line of law enforcement officers in riot gear, injuring two of them in an episode that was caught on video. One of the injured was a Buffalo police officer, and the other was a member of New York’s state police.

The S.U.V. drove around an armored police vehicle and sped off as shots were fired. The authorities said that the officers’ condition was stable and that those in the car had been taken into custody.

After demonstrators in Washington ignored warnings to disperse before the city’s curfew, the police moved in with tear gas. And without directly addressing protesters’ frustrations, Mr. Trump said he would respond with an “overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled.”

In his first remarks from the White House since huge protests have swept the country, he called the looting and violent demonstrations “acts of domestic terror.”

Mr. Trump said he was among those “rightly sickened and revolted” by the death of George Floyd. But the president said that “if a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

Just after he concluded his speech, military police from the National Guard clad in camouflage and riot shields surged in front of a line of law enforcement officers pushing protesters back from the mouth of Lafayette Square outside the White House.

Officers used tear gas and flash grenades to clear out the crowd so that Mr. Trump could visit the nearby St. John’s Church, the site of a parish house basement fire on Sunday night. He stood in front of the boarded-up church to pose for photographs with a Bible.

Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington said she was “outraged” that Mr. Trump had gone to the church “after he threatened to basically rain down military force.”

Later in the evening, an Army Black Hawk helicopter descended to rooftop level in the city’s Chinatown district, kicking up dirt and debris and snapping trees that narrowly missed several people.

Military helicopters also performed a “show of force” maneuver that is often used in combat zones to scare away insurgents. The crowd quickly dispersed into surrounding blocks. Minutes later, the Black Hawk returned for another pass.

Rebekah Castilaw stood on an island of grass along one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares — a protest of one.

She had brought a few signs with her, and the one she was holding at the moment had “Black Lives Matter” handwritten in black marker. As cars whipped past her, many drivers honked. Plenty of people rolled down their windows. Most cheered her on, and some hurled vulgarities.

“I’ll be out here every day,” Ms. Castilaw, who is white, said from her spot outside the University of Southern Mississippi. “It’s pitiful you don’t see more.”

About 200 people turned out in the suburban Minneapolis community of Maple Grove for a candlelight vigil. Their plan was to stand in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time that the Minneapolis police officer had his knee on George Floyd’s neck.

But even after the time elapsed, people remained frozen in place for several minutes, with only the sounds of chirping birds and the hum of cars on the freeway behind them. Members of the mostly white crowd included children on scooters and bicycles, and they held fists in the air and carried “Black Lives Matter” posters as they stood along the freshly cut lawn of the town library’s driveway.

Mary Kriz, leaning against her bicycle, said she was outraged by President Trump’s message on Monday about using military force to break up protests. “It couldn’t be a more wrong solution,” she said. “What we’re hearing from George’s family is they want us to protest peacefully. It’s the worst possible solution.”

John Morrisette, who was clutching a candle and standing beside her, nodded and said, “Everybody is looking for peace right now, and war is not the answer.”

As a curfew approached, members of the National Guard appeared to be rolling into position in the part of town where Mr. Floyd died. More than half a dozen troops stood outside Chumps Chicken and the Cedar Bar & Grill, flanked by an array of armored vehicles. A few blocks away, a convoy of military vehicles and police vehicles with sirens flashing passed down the street.

Just as the sun set and a citywide curfew took effect, a huge gathering marched down the iconic Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards.

Police officers gave the group a wide berth, and things initially seemed peaceful. But soon groups peeled off, targeting the Gower Gulch shopping complex, smashing the windows of a kebab restaurant, and tearing the plywood barriers from a drugstore and a mobile phone shop.

Then the frenzy began. People wearing masks stormed the stores, their arms heavy with looted goods.

Officers quickly descended on the scene, but just as quickly, many demonstrators jumped into awaiting vehicles and fled.

“It’s been the last straw,” Janasia Crumpler, 20, said at a rally. “It’s a pandemic. I’m in good health. I came out for those who can’t and people who’ve been marching for 50 years.”

Ms. Crumpler said that like many people her age, she had first expressed her outrage on social media. But she was then compelled to take to the streets by the contrast in the government’s response to armed white demonstrators storming state capitals to protest coronavirus restrictions.

“It was out of control before when white people were rioting and you called them very good people — and they were rioting about the virus,” Ms. Crumpler said as she walked.

An American flag burned in the street nearby.

‘In every city there’s a George Floyd.’ Voices from the street.

For a week, cities across America have been theaters of dissent.

The people expressing their anger and frustration are individual pieces of a movement, like drops of water to a wave. Their strength is in cohesiveness. Yet they are strangers, divided by geography, age, color and experience.

Here are some of those making their voices heard.

Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Kennetta Hollivay stood outside her store, the Dollar & Up market, a block and a half from the spot where George Floyd died. She and her husband had bought the store in September, and although the store remained open through the pandemic, business was slow.

Ms. Hollivay, who has lived in the neighborhood her whole life, said she had felt compelled to join the protests, at least initially.

“When I first heard about it, I was like, ‘Oh, wow, the police have killed somebody else,’” she said. “And I was hurt. But once I saw video, it was like — that man died right before our eyes. I’ve never seen nothing like that before. Ever. Ever. I told my husband yesterday I’ve been having these dreams every night of this. Nightmares.”

Credit…Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

Chad Bennett and his father, wearing matching face masks, stood back in a parking lot as they watched protesters march past the Police Department in Ferguson, Mo., the site of numerous protests since Michael Brown, a black teenager, was killed by a white police officer there in 2014.

“When Ferguson happened, the whole world descended on us,” said Mr. Bennett, a graduate of Columbia College Chicago who works as an animator. “This time, it was like bam, bam, bam, city after city. I knew I had to be a part of it.”

Seeing the video of what happened to Mr. Floyd left him “numb,” he said. “It’s a silent rage, I guess,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m sad anymore. I’m just angry.”

Credit…Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

For most of her life, Beth Muffett, a stay-at-home mother and massage therapist, had positive interactions with law enforcement.

But by the time she and her friends had left a protest outside City Hall on Sunday, she had bruises on her stomach and knee from where one officer had struck her with his bicycle, and another bruise on her arm after she had fallen back onto another protester.

“There’s a lot of privileged white women, and I’m one of them,” Ms. Muffett said. “I’ve never had a cop treat me like that.”

On #BlackoutTuesday, artists go quiet to focus attention on protesters’ message.

Millions of people worldwide are heeding a call for a day of silence on social media to amplify black people’s voices under the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday.

The idea, which came in response to the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, began as a movement within the music industry as a campaign organized by Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, called “The Show Must Be Paused,” was amplified by several major record labels.

And when stars like Rihanna, the Rolling Stones, Drake, Quincy Jones and Billie Eilish shared the idea to their millions of followers, the idea took off. By early Tuesday, more than two million Instagram featured the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday, and hundreds of thousands tagged #TheShowMustBePaused.

Radio shows and music channels pledged to “black out” for the day, and the streaming platform Spotify said it would add eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence to some playlists and podcasts to echo the length of time that a Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck.

Theaters and actors have joined in, pledging to mute themselves and instead listen. And bloggers and influencers likewise grasped hold of the initiative, with many replacing their profile photos with a black circle adding or a photo of a plain black square within their feed.

People with smaller followings are also letting their social media accounts go dark for the day, sharing posts from black people and donating to organizations that work to fight racism.

Reporting was contributed by Mike Baker, Kim Barker, Julie Bosman, John Branch, Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, Caitlin Dickerson, John Eligon, Tess Felder, Manny Fernandez, Thomas Fuller, Russell Goldman, Miriam Jordan, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, David Montgomery, Jack Nicas, Elian Peltier, Adam Popescu, Austin Ramzy, Frances Robles, Rick Rojas, Marc Santora, Anna Schaverien, Dionne Searcey, Daniel Victor and Neil Vigdor.


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