After days of peaceful protests across the United States following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis earlier this week, and nights of rage in America this past weekend, chaos ensured in several cities from the East Coast through the Midwest to the West Coast of the country as tens of thousands clashed with law enforcement to express their anger, leaving destruction in their wake.
Mayors in two-dozen cities imposed curfews, the first time so many locations issued similar order since 1968 in the aftermath of Martin Luther King’s assassination.
SABC’s Sherwin Bryce-Pease reports on the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis:
Tense standoffs, often leading to clashes with police were seen in cities across the country while in Minneapolis – where George Floyd died after a former police officer pressed a knee on the back of his neck.
Minneapolis is now a city now resembling a war zone with buildings razed to the ground, stores ransacked and looted as protestors vent their anger over years of police abuse directed at minority communities.
A city now resembling a warzone with buildings razed to the ground, stores ransacked and looted as protestors vent their anger over years of police abuse directed at minority communities. This protestor explaining that they are dissatisfied with just the one arrest among the four former police officers involved in Floyd’s death.
Around 1 500 arrests have taken place across the country, and at least three states have activated the National Guard.
One of the protesters explained that they are dissatisfied with just the one arrest among the four former police officers involved in Floyd’s death.
“I don’t think you can really settle and be okay with just the arrest of just one of the officers. I feel like it needs to be every officer involved. Even the officer that was witnessing it. It happens in front of his face. Because even though he did not physically commit the crime, even though he was not there doing it, you are watching a man lose his life, and scream for help, say that he cannot breathe. I feel like there should be justice for that as well. I do not think there is going to be real justice until these officers are taken down.”
Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham, who was fatally shot by police in his own apartment in New York in 2012, spoke at a peaceful gathering in Brooklyn.
“Charges do not mean anything until one of the people are in jail doing serious time and I’m not to talking of a slap on the wrist – 25 years hard time in federal prison. That is the only way they are going to understand. We have been fighting for so long. Our ancestors came a long way for us to have the voter’s rights. We came a long way. We are going to continue to fight until we get justice.”
In Washington, the National Guard was deployed outside the White House.
In New York, pockets of protests around the city’s different burrows saw police overwhelmed as trash dumpsters were set alight and stores looted while they tried to clear the streets, making multiple arrests.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says, “New Yorkers have expressed their desire to address real issues and to address them the right way. And that’s the peaceful protesters who have been out today, and then the millions of people who watched what was going on but didn’t participate. But there was a small number who chose to commit acts of violence, who are here only, unfortunately, to agitate, and to attack those who protect us, our police officers. And that’s just unacceptable.”
President Donald Trump said he spoke with Floyd’s family expressing the sorrow of an entire nation while he later addressed the violence on the streets.
“My administration will stop mob violence, and we’ll stop it cold. It does not serve the interest of justice or any citizen of any race, colour, or creed. For the government to give into anarchy, abandon police precincts or allow communities to be burned to the ground, (it) won’t happen.”
Congratulations to our National Guard for the great job they did immediately upon arriving in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last night. The ANTIFA led anarchists, among others, were shut down quickly. Should have been done by Mayor on first night and there would have been no trouble!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
Attorney General Bill Barr warned that legitimate peaceful protests were being hijacked.
“Unfortunately, with the rioting that is occurring in many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful protest are being hijacked by violent, radical elements. Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda.”
All the overshadowing, a lurking pandemic in a country worst affected by COVID-19, social distancing is gone, crowds massing together, often in running battles as public health officials shudder at the ramifications.