By Agence France-Presse
Clashes broke out and major cities imposed curfews as America began another night of unrest Saturday with angry demonstrators ignoring warnings from President Donald Trump that his government would stop violent protests over police brutality “cold.”
Los Angeles, Atlanta and Philadelphia were among several cities to order people to stay indoors after thousands took to streets nationwide to protest the death of an African American man during an arrest in Minneapolis on Monday.
George Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, has become a fresh symbol of police brutality against blacks and sparked civil unrest not seen in the United States for years.
In Los Angeles, officers fired rubber bullets and swung batons during a testy standoff with demonstrators who set fire to a police car. Police and protesters also clashed in Chicago and New York, where several arrests were made.
Trump blamed the extreme left for the violence, including widespread looting and arson in Minneapolis, saying rioters were dishonoring the memory of Floyd.
“We cannot and must not allow a small group of criminals and vandals to wreck our cities and lay waste to our communities,” the president said.
“My administration will stop mob violence. And we’ll stop it cold,” he added, accusing the loose-knit militant anti-fascist network Antifa of orchestrating the violence.
Rioters to be ‘decimated’
His late afternoon comments came as crowds began marching through streets in Minneapolis, New York, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia and other cities, chanting slogans such as “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe,” which Floyd was heard saying repeatedly before he died.
A peaceful protest took place in Toronto as the demonstrations spread beyond America’s border.
LA announced a curfew from 8:00 pm (0300 GMT) until 5:30 am Sunday while Atlanta’s was set for 09:00 pm to sunrise. A similar nighttime curfew was implemented in Louisville, Kentucky.
Authorities in Minneapolis braced for a fifth night of protests over what African American leaders called “systemic” mistreatment by law enforcement.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz called up more national guard troops Saturday and warned they would “decimate” rioters after Friday night’s violence in the northern state overwhelmed law enforcement.