Thousands of Protesters Take to Streets Nationwide Despite Curfews

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of major U.S. cities on Tuesday night despite curfews put in place by officials struggling to quell the violence and rioting that has largely marred peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd.

In New York City, protesters remained in the streets hours after the 8 p.m citywide curfew that was set by Mayor Bill de Blasio in an attempt to curb potential violence, arson, looting, and clashes with police, as protests and rallies across the United States continued for an eighth consecutive night.

Protesters exit the Manhattan Bridge after being stopped by police for hours during a citywide curfew in New York City on June 2, 2020. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Officers did not initially stop groups of thousands of protesters as they marched past boarded up businesses in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn past curfew. However, they eventually moved to detain some people violating the order. Parts of the the West Side Highway in lower Manhattan were blocked off to demonstrators.

The widespread rioting, violence, and looting that has accompanied the otherwise peaceful protests over the death of 46-year-old Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, has been publicly condemned by lawmakers. On Monday night, five police officers in two cities were hit by gunfire.

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin—who was seen in footage kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he said he couldn’t breathe and eventually became unresponsive—was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin and three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired.

“Something has to break, and it’s not going to be us,” protester Evan Kutcher said Tuesday evening standing outside the Barclays Center. “We’re here because something needs to change.”

Largely peaceful rallies and marches continued on Tuesday night in Los Angeles, which has seen a surge in violent rioting in recent days, prompting California Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency for Los Angeles county, and deploy the state National Guard on Sunday to assist with the response to demonstrations.

Protesters are arrested after curfew went into effect during mostly peaceful demonstrations over George Floyd’s death downtown in Los Angeles, Calif. on June 2, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Hollywood Boulevard, marching past famous landmarks of the film center, while others held protests outside Los Angeles Police Department headquarters. Some people were seen shaking the hands of officers standing in line outside the building.

Meanwhile, in Washington peaceful demonstrations were held Tuesday night outside Lafayette Park near the White House. Groups of people chanted at the line of officers and soldiers in riot gear, and swapped spray-painted tags for colorful children’s street chalk in writing Black Lives Matter slogans on the asphalt in front of St. John’s Church.

With the White House in the background, a line of police forms behind a fence in Lafayette Park as demonstrators gather in Washington on June 2, 2020. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

Attempting to quell the violence nationwide, Floyd’s brother made an impassioned plea for peace on Monday, saying destruction is “not going to bring my brother back at all.”

According to Floyd’s family, the results of a second independent autopsy they commissioned said that “sustained pressure on the right side of Floyd’s carotid artery impeded blood flow to the brain, and weight on his back impeded his ability to breathe.”

The independent autopsy was carried out by famed forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, who was hired by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein’s brother to observe Epstein’s autopsy following his death in a jail cell last year.

President Donald Trump on Monday warned he will deploy military personnel along with other federal assets to stop violent riots in Washington, and that he strongly recommended that governors deploy the National Guard in their states.

“We must never give in to anger or hatred. If malice or violence reigns, then none of us is free,” he said, calling the violence in the nation’s capital on May 31 a “disgrace.”

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany added that the White House will establish a “central command center” to oversee the federal response to riots, and that Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Attorney General William Barr, and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be involved.

The widespread nature of the riots has raised questions about whether the events have been coordinated. Dozens of video clips reveal a pattern of similar tactics employed by the violent extremists, many of whom appear to be affiliated with Antifa—the extremist anarchist-communist group that the president said will be designated as a terrorist group by his administration.

“I want the organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail. This includes Antifa and others who are leading instigators of this violence,” Trump said last week.

Ivan Pentchoukov, Jack Phillips, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.

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Author: Isabel van Brugen

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