Protesters turned out to be in force across the United States on Tuesday, defying radical curfews and an energetic police response.
Thousands of peaceful protesters demanding justice for George Floyd and ending police violence remained on the streets of New York on Tuesday night despite a new weeklong curfew announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in an effort to end to chaos.
“We are going to have a few difficult days. We will beat him, ”said De Blasio.
On the eighth day of nationwide protests, the hometown of Floyd, Houston, held a commemorative march that drew tens of thousands of people.
Floyd’s family was present, alongside the mayor, the police chief and a group of protesters on horseback, with participants paying tribute to a “gentle giant”.
The memorial walk was organized by well-known Houston rappers Trae Tha Truth, who was a longtime friend of Floyd, and Bun B, who worked with Floyd’s family for the event. “We will represent him correctly,” Trae Tha Truth told the crowd of several hundred people gathered for the march. “We are going to tear the system apart.”
Meanwhile, Floyd’s daughter Gianna, six, and her mother, Roxie Washington, made their first public appearance at a press conference in Minneapolis.
“I wanted everyone to know that this is what these officers took …”, said Washington, restraining sobs, her daughter watching her. “At the end of the day, they can go home and be with their families. Gianna has no father. He will never see her grow up, graduate. He will never bring her down the aisle. “
“I’m here for my baby and I’m here for George, because I want justice for him. I want justice for him because he was good. No matter what anyone thinks, “she said, pointing to her daughter. “And it’s proof that he was a good man.”
Elsewhere, mass protests continued in defiance of local curfews. Armored military vehicles rolled through the streets of Washington DC as protesters marched and kneeled near the White House in the hours before the 7:00 p.m. curfew in the neighborhood.
Demonstrations in the nation’s capital on Tuesday were not as intense as the night before, when protesters were forcibly evicted near the White House to make way for Donald Trump.
The crowd outside Lafayette Park was peaceful, using colored children’s street chalk to write Black Lives Matter slogans on the asphalt in front of Saint John’s Church.
The capital, however, remains on high alert, with around 1,600 US soldiers displaced in the Washington area, according to the Pentagon. Troops “do not participate in defense support for civilian authorities’ operations,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said in a statement. The president has threatened to use the military to quell civil unrest, but he should invoke the 1807 Uprising Law to do so.
Thousands gathered for a demonstration at the Washington Monument, while striking images showed the steps of the Lincoln Memorial held by members of the DC National Guard.
In New York, thousands of people walked for hours north through Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, waving signs six miles from One Police Plaza in Lower Manhattan to Upper East Side.
The city has extended the curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. all week and has banned much of the traffic in Manhattan overnight while authorities have struggled to prevent destruction, after chaotic scenes and looting broke out again overnight.
Many remained on the streets at the time of the curfew, mainly walking in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Thousands of people have been temporarily blocked on the Manhattan Bridge by police, with Brooklyn protesters claiming to have waited at the barricades for more than two hours to try to enter Manhattan.
The police “promised to let us in and told us 10 minutes,” said a Brooklyn resident, who asked not to be identified. “But time has passed and all they have done is buy lots of NYPD trucks. Their promise was not to let us pass but to manipulate citizens for no reason. “
“It was an incredibly peaceful protest, no one did anything to divide or provoke,” said Hannah Jayanti, a Brooklyn resident who brought her bike to the protest to help create a barrier between the police and the police. protesters. At midnight, there were still protesters trapped in either neighborhood in an attempt to return home.
Elsewhere, a man was shot dead by police at around 10 p.m. in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. A NYPD spokesperson said the incident occurred after officers responded to reports of a shooting and was further investigated. It was not immediately clear whether the shooting was linked to demonstrations.
With hundreds of cities nationwide imposing curfews in hopes of cracking down on vandalism, granting law enforcement more powers of arrest against those protesting systemic problems with the police , protests started early in some cities. In San Francisco, thousands of people walked along Ocean Beach, while thousands more walked in downtown Los Angeles. In Philadelphia, where presumed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke about Floyd and the protests, protesters knelt down and raised their hands.
In certain cities, certain actions seemed specifically planned to flout curfews.
The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the curfew in a number of places, with the northern California office saying “these measures will only repeat the very problems our communities are protesting.”
“We urge every city that has imposed or is considering a curfew not to seize the momentum of the extraordinary government power created by the current pandemic to adopt wide and limitless measures,” said the ACLU of northern California in a statement. “Right now, we must not get closer to a police state.”
The governors of at least six states have called for the national guard.
The unrest continues as the state of Minnesota has filed a civil rights complaint against the Minneapolis Police Department following the death of Floyd. The state said it would investigate the department’s policies and practices over the past 10 years to determine if it had engaged in “systemic” discrimination against people of color.
Back in Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is black, said he understood the pain of the walkers and told them they were having an impact.
“People who are in elective positions and positions of power – we listen,” said Turner. “It is important for us not only to listen, but to do it. I want you to know your progress, your protests were not in vain. George did not die in vain.”
“The people who knew George best set the tone for Houston,” said David Hill, Houston community activist and pastor at the Restoration Community Church, who knows the Floyd family. “They knew what he was talking about. He was really a nice giant, a nice boy. “
Adam Gabbatt and the agencies contributed to the report