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Coronavirus stock George Floyd death: More large protests in US but violence falls


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Coronavirus stock George Floyd death: More large protests in US but violence falls

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionAleem Maqbool reports from peaceful protest in Washington’s Lafayette Park Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated, mainly peacefully, across the United States for an eighth night following the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody.One of the biggest protests, joined by Floyd’s relatives, took place…

Coronavirus stock George Floyd death: More large protests in US but violence falls

Coronavirus stock

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionAleem Maqbool reports from peaceful protest in Washington’s Lafayette Park

Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated, mainly peacefully, across the United States for an eighth night following the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody.

One of the biggest protests, joined by Floyd’s relatives, took place in his hometown of Houston, Texas.

Many defied curfews in several cities, imposed after violence and looting in some districts on Monday night.

The Pope has issued a call for racism not to be ignored.

“We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism,” he said. But he also condemned the violence: “Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.”

The Floyd case has reignited deep-seated anger over police killings of black Americans and racism.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets – not only to express their outrage at the treatment of Mr Floyd – but to condemn police brutality against black Americans more widely.

There have been calls, and a proposal from a US lawmaker, to end the qualified immunity of police which prevents civil legal action against them. More generally protesters have called for an end to racism and discrimination.

Coronavirus stock George Floyd death

In central Washington DC police fired tear gas after darkness. The military were again on the streets of the capital and helicopters hovered above protesters marching towards the White House.

Traffic was blocked in New York’s Manhattan district as protesters ignored a night-time curfew, which had been extended for a week. Video footage showed them surrounding a police van.

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Media caption‘I’m tired of being afraid’: Why Americans are protesting

In Houston, where Floyd is due to be buried, Mayor Sylvester Turner, told the crowds people should know that he “did not die in vain”.

Big rallies were also held in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Seattle. Minneapolis, where 46-year-old Floyd died, was reported to be relatively calm.

But in Seattle, Portland and Atlanta there were reports of tear gas being fired.

Coronavirus stock What have Floyd’s family been saying?

Sixteen members of George Floyd’s family joined the 60,000 protesters for the Houston rally.

They included sister La Tonya and brother Philonese. A nephew told the crowd: “Don’t stop until we get justice for my uncle,” the Houston Chronicle reports.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Brother Philonese Floyd with other members of his family at the Houston rally

At an emotional news conference in Minneapolis, Roxie Washington, the mother of George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter Gianna, said he was a good man.

Standing with Gianna, she said: “I’m here for my baby and I’m here for George because I want justice for him.”

George Floyd’s funeral is due to take place on 9 June in Houston.

Coronavirus stock What has Donald Trump said?

The president on Wednesday again defended his record on race relations while condemning both “killers, terrorists, arsonists, anarchists, thugs, hoodlums, looters” and the coverage in much of the media.

He posted tweets saying his presidency had done more for black Americans than presidential rival Joe Biden had done “in 43 years”.

Coronavirus stock US protests timeline

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

Image copyright by Getty Images

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.

coronavirus stock 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.

coronavirus stock 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.

coronavirus stock 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”.

coronavirus stock 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

coronavirus stock 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.

coronavirus stock 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.

coronavirus stock 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.

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

Image copyright by Getty

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.

coronavirus stock 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.

coronavirus stock Protester addresses crowds in Australia
Image caption Protester addresses crowds in Australia

Image copyright by Getty

As the US saw another weekend of protests, with tens of thousands marching in Washington DC, anti-racism demonstrations were held around the world.

In Australia, there were major protests in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that focused on the treatment of indigenous Australians. There were also demonstrations in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. In Bristol, protesters tore down the statue of a 17th century slave trader and threw it into the harbour.

coronavirus stock Pallbearers bring the coffin into the church
Image caption Pallbearers bring the coffin into the church

Image copyright by Getty

A funeral service for George Floyd is held in Houston, Mr Floyd’s home town. Just over two weeks after his death in Minneapolis and worldwide anti-racism protests, about 500 guests invited by the Floyd family are in attendance at the Fountain of Praise Church.  Many more gather outside to show their support.

An earlier tweet had cited a number of measures, along with the “lowest black unemployment, poverty, and crime rates in history”. Unemployment levels did hit a low last year but have soared in the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Biden has said Mr Trump’s actions are trying to “serving the passions of his base” and has pledged not to “traffic in fear and division” or “fan the flames of hate”.

President Trump earlier defended his controversial decision to pose with a Bible outside a historic church in Washington, whose basement was set on fire at the weekend.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Mr Trump posed in front of a damaged church shortly after police used tear gas to disperse protesters nearby

Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “You got it wrong! If the protesters were so peaceful, why did they light the Church on fire the night before? People liked my walk.”

On Monday, police used rubber bullets and smoke grenades ahead of the curfew to clear a peaceful protest near the White House, before Mr Trump stood for the cameras outside St John’s Church.

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Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church diocese in Washington, accused him of using the Church for “partisan political purposes”.

Criticism also came from Washington’s Catholic archbishop, who condemned Mr Trump’s visit to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine on Tuesday. It “manipulated” the shrine, Archbishop Wilton D Gregory said.

Monday night saw some of the worst unrest with widespread looting and arson as previously peaceful protests saw a minority resort to violence. In Las Vegas, a police officer was described on Tuesday as being in a grave condition after being shot.

Separately, an armed man was shot dead by police in the same city.

Four police were also shot in St Louis, though their injuries were not described as life-threatening. But a retired officer was shot and killed outside a looted store.

Coronavirus stock What’s the background?

The protests began after a video showed Mr Floyd being arrested on 25 May in Minneapolis and a white police officer continuing to kneel on his neck for several minutes even after he pleaded that he could not breathe.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and will appear in court next week. Three other police officers have been fired.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe peaceful protests honouring George Floyd

The Floyd case follows the high-profile cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in New York; and others that have driven the Black Lives Matter movement in recent years.

Garner was placed in a police chokehold in New York in 2014 and could be heard crying out “I can’t breathe” as officers restrained him. His words, which were also shouted by Mr Floyd in his final moments, have become a rallying cry for Black Lives Matter protesters.

African-Americans are more likely to get fatally shot by police than other ethnic groups. They are also arrested for drug abuse at a much higher rate than white Americans, although surveys show drug use is at similar levels.

For many, the outrage over Mr Floyd’s death also reflects years of frustration over socio-economic inequality and discrimination.

But the protests also echo those of the Civil Rights movement more than 50 years ago. This action was led by Martin Luther King Jr and sought to challenge white supremacy and the segregationist policies that were commonplace at the time.

The ongoing unrest is the most widespread racial turbulence the US has experienced since Dr King, known to most Americans as MLK, was gunned down by a sniper in 1968.

How has the unrest affected you? Share your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist.

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