Civil unrest flared and curfews were imposed in several major US cities Saturday as demonstrators took to the streets to vent outrage at the death of George Floyd, a Black man resisting arrest shown on video gasping for breath as a Minneapolis policeman subdued him.
From LA to Miami to Chicago, protests marked by chants of “I can’t breathe” a rallying cry echoing the dying words of George Floyd began peacefully before turning unruly as demonstrators blocked traffic, set fires and clashed with riot police, some firing tear gas and plastic bullets in an effort to restore order.
The sight of protesters flooding streets fueled a sense of crisis in the United States after wks of lockdowns due to the C-19 coronavirus chaos, which has seen millions thrown out of work and affected mostly minority communities.
President Trump said Saturday that if protesters who gathered the night before in Lafayette Square, across from the White House, had breached the fence, “they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.”
USAG William Barr also pointed at the extremist instigators.
The rapidly spreading protests coincided with deep national discontent over the social claustrophobia and economic carnage wrought by the C-19 coronavirus chaos.
In a surreal moment for Miami Saturday, police sirens and lights flooded downtown neighborhoods as fireworks began crackling and booming over Biscayne Bay to honor healthcare workers fighting the chaos. Hundreds of police in riot gear swarmed the area, threatening to arrest anyone, including media, who ventured onto the streets.
Curfews were imposed in several major cities rocked by civil disturbances in recent days, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Denver, Cincinnati, Portland, Oregon, and Louisville, Kentucky.
Protests also flared on Saturday in Dallas, Chicago, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Cleveland.
In an extraordinary move, the Pentagon said it put military units on a 4-hr alert to be ready if requested by the Minnesota governor to help keep the peace.
National Guard units also were mobilized by the governors of Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin and Tennessee.
It has been learned that Mr. Floyd, aka a gentle giant, had worked security for Minneapolis nightclubs with the arresting officer, was suspected of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes last Monday evening. The store employee called the police for help had told the police dispatcher that the suspect, Mr. Floyd appeared to be intoxicated.
Protesters in Los Angeles clashed with police in the city’s Fairfax district, where crowds tried to force their way into the CBS Television City studios but were repulsed by law enforcement and security officers.
Looters broke into stores at The Grove shopping center on Fairfax, TV reported, as well as into shops along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The National Guard was on the scene starting around Midnight.
At about 2p PDT, Beverly Hills police closed Rodeo Drive to traffic. At 1 point a group flooded the famed shopping street and sidewalks and took a knee in silent protest.
Looters broke into Alexander McQueen and were seen running from the store with arms full of merchandise. The front window was tagged with Red paint that said, “Make America Pay for its Crimes Against Black Lives.” Blue wood that boarded up the windows and entrance of Gucci was tagged with “Eat the Rich,” and “Can’t Be Silenced.” Similar tags were painted into plywood protecting the windows of Hermes.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garnett told reporters, “This is no longer a protest. This is vandalism … this is destruction.”
Have a healthy weekend, Keep the Faith!