George Floyd protesters undeterred by US curfews: Live updates

Protests over police brutality erupt across the United States as cities impose curfews, call in the National Guard.

Protesters kneel in front of New York City Police during a march to honor George Floyd in Manhattan on May 31, 2020 in New York City. Protesters demonstrated for the fourth straight night after video
  • The Washington, DC National Guard – roughly 1,700 soldiers – has been called in response to protests outside the White House and elsewhere in the nation’s capital.

  • Protests continue to spread as more cities impose curfews and states call in the National Guard.

  • Demonstrators in Minneapolis, Minnesota, continue to demand all officers involved in Floyd’s death be charged. 

  • A large truck drives into protesters in Minneapolis, sending march-goers running and jumping over barricades. No serious injuries were reported. The truck driver has been arrested. 

Latest updates:

Monday, June 1

12:35 GMT – Music industry hits pause to reflect as US protests rage

Leading record labels will mark “Black Out Tuesday” this week, suspending business and working with communities to fight racial inequality.

“We stand with the black community,” Universal Music, part of Vivendi, said on its Twitter account, which featured the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused.

“The music business at WMG will not go on as usual,” Warner Records wrote on its account, referring to Warner Music Group. It said it would contribute to Black Lives Matter and other groups fighting “racial injustice”.

Sony Music made a similar announcement, while Interscope Geffen A&M, part of the Universal stable, said it would release no new music this week.

12:20 GMT – Trump, attorney general to meet as protests continue

US President Donald Trump was scheduled to meet with his top law enforcement officer behind closed doors as cities nationwide awoke from a smoldering weekend of violent protests over race and policing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Republican president was scheduled to hold a call with governors, law enforcement and national security officials later on Monday following his Oval Office meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr.

Trump has made no major public statement to address the growing crisis but has issued a flurry of tweets, describing protesters as “thugs” and urging mayors and governors to “get tough.” He has also threatened to utilise the US military, but his national security adviser on Sunday said the administration would not yet invoke federal control over the National Guard.

11:55 GMT – Black Lives Matter protest turns violent in London

Clashes erupted in central London on Sunday after a largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protest. Tension escalated as police tried to clear a junction in Parliament Square blocked by protesters.

A number of people were seen being arrested and put into police vans. The Metropolitan Police Service said late Sunday 23 people had been arrested in relation to the protests.

One protester, who chose to remain nameless, said the demonstrators had been protesting peacefully and criticised the actions of the police.

“We came out here peacefully to protest the injustice in the UK, it’s now a global issue with the murder of George Floyd, everything that’s going on in the world,” the protester said. “The police came and they made it violent. They came and antagonised us, we were protesting peacefully.”

11:40 GMT – In Pictures: Anti-racism solidarity protests held across world

People in several cities around the world have rallied in solidarity with anti-racism protests in the US, which were triggered by the death of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, in the state of Minnesota.

A woman wearing a face mask raises her fist during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of African-American man George Floyd, at Hermannplatz square in Neukoelln district, Berlin,
A woman wearing a face mask raises her fist during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of African-American man George Floyd, at Hermannplatz square in Neukoelln district, Berlin, Germany [Christian Mang/Reuters]

More pictures here.

11:00 GMT – Sydney solidarity protest cancelled over conflict fears

Fearful of conflict, organisers have cancelled a peaceful protest planned for Sydney over the death of George Floyd in the US.

A rally planned at Sydney’s downtown Hyde Park for Tuesday was cancelled on Monday after people threatened to create “havoc and protest against the event,” an organiser said on social media.

The rally was presented as a peaceful protest against the over-representation of Indigenous Australians in Australia’s criminal justice system as well as in solidarity for Floyd who was “brutally and inhumanly murdered”.

Organisers posted that “although Australia is far from where the murder took place, we have a voice”.

10:20 GMT – Zimbabwe summons US envoy over George Floyd comments

Zimbabwe has summoned its US ambassador over remarks by a senior American official accusing the southern African country of stirring anti-racism protests over the death of George Floyd, the government said.

In a Sunday interview with ABC news, US national security advisor Robert O’Brien referred to Zimbabwe and China as “foreign adversaries” using social media to stoke unrest and “sow discord”.         

Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry spokesman James Manzou said US ambassador Brian Nichols had been called in to explain O’Brien’s remarks.

A senior unnamed Zimbabwean official quoted by the state-owned Herald newspaper denied O’Brien’s accusations, and said: “Anyone who has seen the genesis of recent events, from the tragic death of Mr Floyd to the subsequent protests, will realise that any accusations of Zimbabwean involvement at any stage is farcical”.

10:01 GMT – Man fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky during protest

Louisville, Kentucky blog entry
National Guard vehicles drive into downtown behind police officers in riot gear as protests occur in Louisville, Kentucky [Brett Carlsen/Getty Images/AFP]

The Washington Post has reported one man has been shot and killed when police and the National Guard opened fire in Louisville following a violent confrontation between a group gathered in a parking lot and law enforcement trying to disperse the crowd.

Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said Louisville police were dispatched to a parking lot at Dino’s Food Mart at 12:15am (04:15 GMT) to disperse a large crowd that had gathered.

Conrad said someone in the crowd fired at the officers and soldiers, who returned fire, resulting in one person being killed.

08:46 GMT – China, Iran criticise US ‘racism, violence’

China has called racism “a chronic disease of American society”. At a press conference in Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the unrest shows “the severity of the problems of racism and police violence in the US”.

Meanwhile, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi urged the US government and police to stop the violence.

“To American officials and police: Stop violence against your people and let them breathe,” Mousavi said at a news conference in Tehran on Monday. He also told the American people that “the world is standing with you”. He added that Iran was saddened to see “the violence the US police have recently” set off.

07:55 GMT – California closes all downtown state buildings

The state Department of Human Resources sent a directive to close all California state buildings “with offices in downtown city areas” on Monday, a sweeping mandate that covers everything from Department of Motor Vehicles offices to those that license workers and provide healthcare.

“After consultation with the California Highway Patrol and Office of Emergency Services, the decision was made this evening to advise all state departments with offices in downtown city areas to close tomorrow, and to notify staff of the decision,” said Amy Palmer, a spokeswoman for the state Government Operations Agency.

A state Department of Justice memo sent to employees said the attorney general’s offices in Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego would be closed, though employees who can work from home should do so.

07:00 GMT – New Zealanders protest against death of George Floyd

New Zealand protesters
Some 4,000 New Zealand protesters demonstrate against the killing of Minneapolis man George Floyd in a Black Lives Matter protest in Auckland [Michael Bradley/AFP]

Thousands of New Zealanders marched peacefully chanting “Black Lives Matter” over last week’s death of George Floyd under police custody.

Protesters in New Zealand’s Auckland city sat on the road after their peaceful march as they raised clenched fists in a sign of unity, solidarity and Black Power.

Social media posts showed demonstrators outside the American Consulate in Auckland wielding posters that read “Justice for George Floyd” and “Are we next?”.

In the capital Wellington, more than 100 people walked from New Zealand’s parliament building to the American Embassy, chanting “Black Lives Matter”.

A candlelight vigil is also being planned in Wellington on Monday evening.

06:45 GMT – Trump took shelter in White House bunker as protests raged

Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.

Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House who was not authorised to publicly discuss private matters and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The abrupt decision by the agents underscored the rattled mood inside the White House, where the chants from protesters in Lafayette Park could be heard all weekend and Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers struggled to contain the crowds.

06:25 GMT – Tear gas used to clear Washington, DC protesters

Washington, DC blog entry
Smoke rises around a protester holding up their hands in front of a row of police during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd at a park near the White House in Washington, DC [Roberto Schmidt/AFP]

An hour before the 11pm  (03:00 GMT) curfew in Washington, DC on Sunday night, police fired a barrage of tear gas and stun grenades into the crowd of more than 1,000 people, largely clearing Lafayette Park across the street from the White House and scattering protesters into the street.

Protesters piled up road signs and plastic barriers and lit a raging fire in the middle of H Street.

Hello, this is Linah Alsaafin taking over the blog in Doha. Here is a summary of events so far:

  • The entire DC National Guard has been called in response to protests happening outside the White House

  • Minnesota state Attorney General Keith Ellison will lead the prosecution of the George Floyd case

  • Former NBA star Michael Jordan has come out with a statement in support of the protests

04:50 GMT – Denver police fire tear gas

denver blog entry
People move a burning dumpster toward a line of police officers during the fourth consecutive day of protests in Denver, Colorado [Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images/AFP]

Police fired tear gas and projectiles at demonstrators defying a Denver curfew on Sunday night following a day of peaceful marching and chants of “Don’t shoot” alongside boarded-up businesses that had been vandalised the night before.

Dozens of demonstrators, some throwing fireworks, taunted police and pushed dumpsters onto Colfax Avenue, a major artery, in the sporadic confrontations that occurred east of downtown.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock called the behaviour of unruly protesters “reckless, inexcusable and unacceptable”.

04:30 GMT – Entire DC National Guard called: Report

The entire Washington, DC, National Guard – roughly 1,700 soldiers – is being called in to help with the response to protests outside the White House and elsewhere in the nation’s capital, according to two Defense Department officials, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Sunday she had requested 500 guardsmen to assist local law enforcement. Later on Sunday, as the protests escalated, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy ordered the rest of the guardsmen – about 1,200 soldiers – to report.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to the AP because they were not authorised to discuss the matter.

The DC National Guard did not reply to a request from The Associated Press for comment.

This was the scene earlier in the day in Washington, DC, as captured by Al Jazeera’s Malika Bilal: 

03:20 GMT – Fires erupt near White House

Protesters started fires near the White House as tensions with police mounted. Police fired a major barrage of tear gas and stun grenades into the crowd of more than 1,000 people, largely clearing Lafayette Park across the street from the White House and scattering protesters into the street.

Protesters piled up road signs and plastic barriers and lit a raging fire in the middle of H Street. Some pulled an American flag from a nearby building and threw it into the blaze. Others added branches pulled from trees. A cinder block structure, on the northern side of the park, that had bathrooms and a maintenance office, was engulfed in flames.

Several miles north, a separate protest broke out in Northwest DC, near the Maryland border. The Metropolitan Police Department said there were break-ins at a Target and a shopping centre that houses major retailers, a cinema and specialty stores. Police said several individuals were detained.

03:10 GMT – Truck company makes statement

The truck company that owns the semi-truck that drove through thousands of people marching on the Minneapolis highway said in a statement that it was informed of an incident involving one of its independent contractors and it would be cooperating with investigating authorities.

Video showed the lorry had a logo on its side for “Kenan Advantage Group,” an Ohio-based transportation company.

Read about the incident here

02:50 GMT – San Diego police fire tear gas at protestors

San Diego police said officers fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of demonstrators that was pelting them with rocks and bottles.

Hundreds of people, many with facial masks to protect against the coronavirus, marched through downtown chanting “George Floyd” with signs, including some saying “I can’t breathe,” a reference to Floyd’s dying words when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on the back of his neck. Some demonstrators dropped to one knee at times.

US protest
A woman  in the Queens borough of New York City taking part in a rally against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters] 

The demonstration began peacefully at 10am. San Diego police said on Twitter that a crowd of 100 to 200 people was throwing rocks but stopped. Authorities said multiple vehicles were vandalised.

02:45 GMT – Minnesota AG on leading Floyd case: We will bear necessary resources to achieve justice

Minnesota’s state attorney general Keith Ellison said on Sunday he will lead the prosecution of the case involving the killing of George Floyd.

“It is with a large degree of humility and a great seriousness, I accept for my office the responsibility for leadership on this critical case involving the killing of George Floyd,” Ellison said in a tweet.

“We are going to bring to bear all the resources necessary to achieve justice in this case.”

02:00 GMT – Minneapolis police begin arresting demonstrators for curfew violations

A group of protesters who remained out after the 8pm curfew has been arrested, the Minneapolis Police Department confirmed on Twitter. 

The protesters on Washington Avenue were surrounded by police and “arrests are being made”, the MPD said. “Curfew violation is a misdemeanor.” 

“Hundreds” of people arrived to the Washington Avenue bridge in Minneapolis about 20 minutes after the curfew began, according to a local journalist. 

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said in a tweet that roughly 150 people had been arrested.

1:27 GMT – Minnesota announces investigation into lorry incident 

Authorities in Minnesota announced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a semi-truck which appeared to drive into a crowd of protesters marching down a Minneapolis freeway. 

“The Minnesota State Patrol and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are jointly investigating what happened with the semi that drove into demonstrators tonight on I-35W. The incident is being investigated as a criminal matter”, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted. 

The driver has reportedly been arrested. 

Video of the incident appears to show the lorry barrelling towards a large group of demonstrators, who split in time to avoid harm. 

No injuries have been reported, though circumstances remain unclear. 

00:09 GMT – Ellison to head prosecution of former cop who killed Floyd

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will head the prosecution in the case surrounding George Floyd’s death. 

Former officer Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter days after Floyd’s death.

Ellison asked in a Fox News appearance on Sunday that the public be patient. 

“To ask people to be patient who have suffered so long and been denied justice so long is really asking a lot of them, but if you want to make sure that this case results in a successful prosecution, you’ve got to understand the defence attorneys who are going to be on the other side are very skilful and they will try to break every single link in the prosecutorial chain,” Ellison said before the appointment. 

Sunday, May 31

23:00 GMT – Protesters hold moments of silence in major cities

Video shared on social media show protesters kneeling and sitting to hold moments of silence nationwide.

Many lasted for eight minutes and 46 seconds – the amount of time a white police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck in Minneapolis.

23:00 GMT – Truck appears to drive into crowd of protesters

A semi-truck appeared to drive into a crowd of protesters marching down a Minneapolis freeway, live video showed.

Video shows a large group of protesters parting and running as the lorry barrels towards them.

It then comes to a stop and protesters run towards it.

It is unclear what happens next and whether there are any injuries. 

Protesters and residents in the area told Al Jazeera that the scene is very chaotic. 

Warning: Graphic footage. 

21:45 GMT – Atlanta mayor: Two officers fired for using excessive force on protesters

Two police officers have been fired and three others placed on desk duty for excessive use of force during a protest arrest incident, Atlanta’s mayor said.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a news conference that she and Police Chief Erika Shields made the decision after reviewing body-camera footage of a Saturday night incident that first gained attention from video online and on local news.

“Use of excessive force is never acceptable,” Bottoms told reporters. Shields called the footage “really shocking to watch”.

The video, shown on TV as captured by local reporters, shows a group of police officers in riot gear and gas masks surround a car being driven by a man with a woman in the passenger seat. The officers pull the woman out and appear to use a stun gun on the man. They use zip-tie handcuffs on the woman on the ground. The couple did not appear to be fighting police.

21:15 GMT – Michael Jordan: We have had enough 

Former NBA star Michael Jordan said in a statement that he is “deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry”.

“I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough,” Jordan said. “Everyone of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.”

21:10 GMT – Atlanta extends curfew

Atlanta’s mayor extended a curfew another night on Sunday, and Georgia’s governor authorised the deployment of up to 3,000 National Guard troops across the state to respond if needed to protests over the deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.

The guards had helped enforce a 9pm (01:00 GMT) curfew on Saturday in Atlanta, where violence has marred protests since Friday. Governor Brian Kemp said more would be ready on Sunday for demonstrations planned in Athens, Savannah and other cities.

People take part in a Black Lives Matters protest during nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S., May 31, 2020. REUTERS/Ni
People take part in a Black Lives Matters protest in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma during nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd [Nick Oxford/Reuters]

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order on Sunday extending the curfew in the city, according to text and email notifications sent to residents. It takes effect at 9pm on Sunday and will end at sunrise.

Atlanta police said on Sunday they had arrested more than 150 people overnight as protesters threw rocks at officers and broke windows in the downtown area. That brought the total number of arrests during two nights of protests to nearly 230.

21:00 GMT – Philadelphia to close large parts of city centre

Officials in Philadelphia announced plans to close much of the centre of the city Sunday after peaceful protests over George Floyd’s death turned into a night of destruction with store windows smashed near City Hall, merchandise looted from stores, and police and other vehicles and structures set ablaze.

But television news helicopter footage on Sunday afternoon showed people running into multiple stores in northeast Philadelphia, well outside the city centre, and emerging with merchandise as disorder continued for a second day elsewhere in the city.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said much of the city centre would be blocked off, affecting roads, bridges and expressway entrances and exits, as well as the city’s transit agency. The Benjamin Franklin Bridge between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey, was closed until further notice.

An 8pm (00:00 GMT) curfew in the city announced earlier was moved up to 6pm (22:00 GMT) on Sunday, and retail establishments were ordered to close immediately, with people cleaning or securing vandalised properties ordered to finish up and return home by 5pm (21:00 GMT) so that the curfew could be enforced.

Local television showed live aerial shots for more than an hour on Sunday afternoon of people running from store to store in strip malls in northeast Philadelphia’s Port Richmond neighbourhood, emerging with armfuls of merchandise as police units tried to keep up.

20:55 GMT – San Francisco extends curfew

San Francisco’s mayor and police chief said on Sunday the city’s 8pm (03:00 GMT) curfew would be extended indefinitely and that people who are out after that time would be stopped.

Mayor London Breed said Governor Gavin Newsom had approved sending in about 200 extra officers from other agencies.

20:30 GMT – Protests spread to European football

England footballer Jadon Sancho joined protests across German football at the weekend by lifting his jersey after scoring to reveal a T-shirt with the handwritten message “Justice for George Floyd” on the front.

Sancho was shown a yellow card for his gesture which came after he scored a second goal for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn on Sunday.

Earlier, Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring in Borussia Monchengladbach’s win over Union Berlin.

Marcus Thuram
Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram kneels after celebrating their second goal, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) [Martin Meissner/Reuters] 

The Gladbach striker scored in the first half and then dropped his left knee to the ground and rested his right arm on his right thigh as he bowed his head in reflection. Thuram spent five seconds in this position before getting up again to continue.

“No explanation needed,” Gladbach FC said on Twitter, with a picture of Thuram kneeling.

08:15 GMT – DC mayor blames “organised group” for violence

The mayor of the nation’s capital said on Sunday that violence and vandalism from the previous night’s protests were committed by “an organised group that appeared more bent on destruction than protest”.

Muriel Bowser also acknowledged what she described as the legitimate grievances of the peaceful protesters.

Bowser and Police Chief Peter Newsham toured the city around 3am (07:00 GMT) on Sunday, assessing dozens of broken windows, damaged storefronts and a few looted shops.

In a news conference, Newsham said 17 protesters were arrested, and he expected more arrests as police examine security camera footage.

A contingent of 500 members of the DC National Guard remain on standby and will continue to be deployed to assist local security, Bowser said.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the protests in the US over the deadly arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath in Louisville, Kentucky, Lucien Formichella in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Creede Newton in Washington, DC. 

Here are a few things to catch up on:

  • George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, died on Monday after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground for several minutes. Floyd can be heard on a bystander video repeatedly pleading with officers, saying “I can’t breathe.” He eventually becomes motionless with the officer’s knee still on his neck. (You can read about the deadly incident here.)
  • The four officers involved in the incident were fired. Derek Chauvin, the white officer who pinned Floyd down, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Protesters demand the three other officers be charged, as well.
  • Protests – some violent – have since erupted nationwide as demonstrators rally for justice for Floyd and all unarmed Black people killed by police.

See the updates from Friday and Saturday night’s protests here and here

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies