- Protests and demonstrations are held across the United States and the world on Saturday, calling for an end to racism and police brutality in one of the largest mobilisations since the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.
- Hundreds of mourners gathered in North Carolina on Saturday for a memorial service for Floyd.
- Several jurisdictions have been altering their use-of-force policies. California’s governor ordered state police to stop teaching a controversial neck restraint, Minneapolis officials banned police choke and strangleholds, Seattle’s mayor banned police from using tear gas in protests, and a federal judge in Denver limited police use of tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters.
The UK health minister said anti-racism protests attended by thousands of people in London and other major British cities increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Sunday, June 7
12:25 GMT – New York: Curfew lifted early after peace protests
New York City is lifting its curfew spurred by protests against police brutality before schedule, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday morning.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
The 8pm citywide curfew, New York’s first in decades, had been set to remain in effect through at least Sunday, with the city planning to lift it at the same time it enters the first phase of reopening after more than two months of shutdowns because of the coronavirus.
“Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city,” de Blasio tweeted in his announcement of the curfew’s end “effective immediately”. “Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart.”
The move followed New York City police pulling back on enforcing the curfew on Saturday as thousands took to the streets and parks to protest against police brutality, sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
12:15 GMT – Minneapolis mayor jeered after refusing to back abolishing police department
The mayor of Minneapolis ran a gauntlet of angry, jeering protesters on Saturday after telling them he was opposed to their demands for defunding the city police following George Floyd’s fatal encounter with law enforcement.
Mayor Jacob Frey, a former civil rights lawyer who took office two years ago promising to repair the police department’s strained relations with minorities, was showered with angry chants of “go home, Jacob, go home” and “shame, shame”, as he stalked away through the crowd, head bowed.
11:40 GMT – BTS, South Korean boyband, donates $1m to Black Lives Matter
Popular South Korean band BTS donated $1m to Black Lives Matter (BLM) in support of US protests against police brutality, its music label, Big Hit Entertainment, told Reuters news agency.
On Thursday, the seven-member BTS wrote on its Twitter account that they are against racism and violence with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
“We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”
The hashtag went viral among the K-pop group’s fans and started another wave of donations with a new hashtag, #MatchAMillion.
11:00 GMT – 14 officers injured in anti-racism protests: London police chief
Fourteen police officers were injured in “shocking and completely unacceptable” assaults during anti-racism protests in central London on Saturday, London police chief Cressida Dick said
After a largely peaceful day, small numbers of protesters briefly clashed with mounted police on Saturday after thousands gathered to voice their anger at police brutality after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“I am deeply saddened and depressed that a minority of protesters became violent towards officers in central London yesterday evening. This led to 14 officers being injured,” Dick, who is commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, said in a statement.
“The number of assaults is shocking and completely unacceptable.”
The police said 13 officers were also hurt in protests earlier in the week and a number of arrests had been made.
10:05 GMT – Banksy supports Black Lives Matter with new work on Instagram
British artist Banksy showed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement with a painting he posted to his Instagram account on Saturday portraying a candle vigil under a US flag.
In the post, the secretive artist, who rose to fame for his graffiti, writes that the system is failing people of colour, and it is the responsibility of white people to fix the system, not theirs.
Read more here.
09:30 GMT – ‘Justice for George Floyd’: US protests in pictures
Tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied in Washington, DC, and other US cities on Saturday, demanding an end to racism and brutality by law enforcement, as protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd stretched into the 12th day.
A Lincoln Memorial rally and march to the White House marked the largest outpouring yet of protests nationwide since video footage emerged showing Floyd, an unarmed Black man in handcuffs, lying face down and struggling to breathe as a white police officer knelt on his neck.
Floyd’s May 25 death has sparked a storm of protests in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, thrusting the highly charged debate over racial justice back to the forefront of the political agenda five months before the US presidential election.
More photographs here.
09:00 GMT – UK minister says anti-racism protests increase risk of COVID-19 spread
Anti-racism protests attended by thousands of people in London and other major UK cities “undoubtedly” risk causing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases again, British Health Minister Matt Hancock said.
Thousands of people attended protests on Saturday to voice their anger at police brutality after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, ignoring government advice to avoid large gatherings due to the risk from coronavirus.
Asked during an interview on Sky News whether the number attending protests made an increase in COVID-19 cases more likely, Hancock said: “It is undoubtedly a risk.”
“I support very strongly the argument that is being made by those who are protesting … but the virus itself doesn’t discriminate and gathering in large groups is temporarily against the rules precisely because it increases the risk of the spread of this virus.”
08:05 GMT – Australian minister calls Black Lives Matter protests ‘self-indulgent’
Australians who defied public health rules and rallied in support of the US Black Lives Matter movement were reckless and self-indulgent, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said.
More than 20,000 people protested in Sydney and other cities on Saturday, in solidarity with the US anger over the killing of George Floyd and calling for an end to similar deaths of Indigenous Australians.
Cormann said the protesters risked a second outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
“I think it is incredibly selfish,” Cormann told Sky News. “It’s incredibly self-indulgent.”
Australia has had 7,255 cases of the coronavirus and 102 deaths, avoiding the higher tolls seen elsewhere because of border closures and strict social distancing since March.
06:35 GMT – Senior Trump aide apologises for sharing racially-charged video
A senior aide to President Donald Trump apologised for promoting a racially-charged video on her Twitter feed.
Mercedes Schlapp, a senior Trump national spokeswoman, said she “deeply apologized” for retweeting a video of a chainsaw-wielding man in Texas shouting at anti-racist protesters, in which he used a racial slur.
“I retweeted without watching the full video. I deleted the tweet. I would never knowingly promote the use of that word,” Schlapp said in an email to Reuters.
06:00 GMT – Mapping anti-racism solidarity protests around the world
Thousands of people around the world have rallied in solidarity with anti-racism protests in the United States following the police killing of George Floyd on May 25.
Outside the US, large protests have also erupted in many cities around the world.
05:40 GMT – Jamaicans protest in support of Floyd
Wearing black and braving a blistering sun, Jamaicans gathered on Saturday to support global protests against police abuses sparked by the death of George Floyd.
Several hundred people stood outside the US Embassy in Kingston with signs and t-shirts reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Enough is Enough”, demanding justice for Floyd as well as Jamaicans who have died at the hands of security forces.
The Kingston protests were peaceful, and police mostly stood by watching as demonstrators voiced their concerns.
According to a government-backed study, over 3,000 Jamaicans have been killed by law enforcement officials since 2000.
00:30 GMT – Protesters pour into the streets of California
Thousands of demonstrators filled the streets in San Francisco, Sacramento, Simi Valley, San Diego, Los Angeles and elsewhere across California.
In Los Angeles, protesters organised by Refuse Fascism LA took over Hollywood Boulevard, chanting “Revolution, nothing less!”
In San Diego, more than 3,000 people marched downtown and faced off with officers guarding police headquarters, while a caravan of 300 cars moved past the state university there.
In Simi Valley, a protest drawing several thousand demonstrators spilled onto the street and stopped traffic on a major road through the suburban town northwest of Los Angeles. It was there that four white Los Angeles police officers were found not guilty of beating motorist Rodney King, sparking riots in 1992.
On Saturday, marchers there carried signs with messages including “We stand together” and “Change is now.” Some of them thanked police officers as they passed by them.
In Huntington Beach, police officers reportedly separated protesters at a beachside rally from a few dozen counter-protesters who waved American flags and pro-Trump signs. A fight broke out amid the scrum, and one person was detained.
Demonstrations in recent days have generally been boisterous but non-violent, in contrast to last weekend when some protesters smashed windows, burned police cars and confronted cordons of riot-clad police who fired tear gas and rubber bullets. Gone, too, was most of the looting that ransacked dozens of stores and that authorities say appeared mainly to be the work of non-protesters.
Saturday, June 6
23:00 GMT – Tens of thousands march on US capital to demand change
Protesters chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “George Floyd” converged on the US capital on Saturday, thronging the streets from the Capitol building to a barricaded White House and the Lincoln Memorial, in the largest protest the city has yet seen.
Military vehicles and officers in fatigues had closed off much of downtown Washington, DC, to traffic, as protesters stirred by the death of George Floyd – who died on May 25 after a white police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes – flooded the streets chanting and carrying signs including “Get your knee off our necks.”
The White House has been fortified with new fencing and extra security precautions. Most businesses around the downtown area have their windows boarded shut.
A man standing behind a table handed out water, snacks and paper towels to demonstrators. The few police and security officers in sight wore patrol uniforms rather than body armour and helmets, and had a more relaxed posture than in days prior.
The mood across the capital seemed jubilant. The White House said the president had no public events scheduled for Saturday. It was unclear if, behind the new fence, he could hear the crowds filling the city, at one point chanting: “This is what democracy looks like.”
21:45 GMT – Large protest in Seattle after criticism over dispersing peaceful protesters
A large protest kicked off in Seattle for the ninth consecutive day of protests over the death of George Floyd.
Thousands of doctors, nurses and others, many in lab coats and scrubs, marched to City Hall in demonstrations that are among the largest Seattle has seen in years.
After police were severely criticised for using tear gas and pepper spray to disperse largely peaceful crowds, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best imposed a 30-day moratorium on the department’s use of one kind of tear gas.
20:45 GMT – DC mayor tells protesters ‘we pushed the army away from our city’: Report
Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser joined protesters gathered in the US capital, telling them “we pushed the army away from our city”, according to the Washington Post.
Bowser has been a vocal proponent of the protests, naming a plaza near the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza”.
Active members of the military had been stationed outside the city during previous days, while members of the National Guard had been deployed near the White House and other parts of the capital.
Bowser, in a June 4 letter, had called on Trump to withdraw the “extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence”. The Pentagon soon after ordered the troops to return home.
20:00 GMT – Massive ‘Black Lives Matter!’ painted on lawn in California state capital
“Black Lives Matter!” has been painted in massive letters stretching for two blocks on California’s Capitol Mall, a main avenue that leads to the California State Capitol.
A local artist Demetris “BAMR” Washington urged volunteers on Friday to help paint the message, after saying he had received approval from the area’s councilman.
On Saturday, the artist posted on Instagram that about 300 people had come out to help.
View this post on Instagram
TEAMWORK MADE THE DREAMWORK! SACRAMENTO, I tip my hat to you and will be forever grateful that y'all gave me this experience! With at least 300 helpers, we were able to finsh this in 5 hours! I'm still sore/ exhausted but hoping to make it to the rally at 10 am this morning. Big thank you to @guysonthegrid for waking up at 5 am to get this drone footage! You a blessing foreal! Big thank you for @atrium916 for the vision!!!!! Song: "Too Rough Around the Edges" Instrumental by Snake City. . . . #bamrtheartist #blm #blacklivesmatter
19:15 GMT – Protesters gather outside Trump’s Florida golf resort
As protesters gathered for a 12th day in cities across the US, including New York, Washington, DC, Chicago and Minneapolis, about 100 protesters gathered at President Donald Trump’s golf resort in Florida.
The protest was organised by Latinos for Black Lives Matter. Many carried signs saying such things as “Vote Him Out” and “Don’t Be A Bunker Boy,” the latter a reference to reports that Trump went into the White House bunker when protests in Washington became more violent. Trump insists he only went briefly, for an inspection.
18:30 GMT – Thousands gather in US capital
Thousands of protesters marched in Washington, DC, as rallies across the US to protest the killing of George Floyd enter a 12th day and officials move to rein in law enforcement tactics.
Some activists have called on social media for a million people to attend Saturday’s rally in the US capital. Local media has predicted tens of thousands will attend.
“This is by far the most protesters we’ve seen descend on the White House and make their voices heard since these protests began 12 days ago,” Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro reported from the protest.
18:10 GMT – UK protesters clash with mounted police
British anti-racism protesters briefly clashed with mounted police after thousands gathered in central London to voice their anger at police brutality after the killing of George Floyd.
After a largely peaceful day, small numbers of protesters near Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street residence threw bottles at police, and mounted officers charged at protesters to push them back.
Earlier, more than a thousand protesters marched past the US embassy on the south bank of the River Thames, blocking traffic and holding placards.
17:40 GMT – Hamburg police use pepper spray during protest
Police in the German city of Hamburg used pepper spray on protesters and were ready to deploy water cannon as some demonstrations in support of US anti-racist protests turned ugly.
Hamburg police tweeted that several hundred “hooded and aggressive people” had put pressure on police officers in the city centre, adding: “We have already had to use pepper spray. With all due respect for emotions: attacks on police officers are unacceptable!”
At another location nearby, they said some 350 people were standing in front of police water cannons. “We regard this as an unauthorised (forbidden) meeting and now we are calling via loudspeaker announcements for people to leave.”
17:15 GMT – Mourners arrive at North Carolina memorial service for George Floyd
Hundreds of mourners have begun to gather at a church in North Carolina on Saturday for a memorial service for George Floyd in his home state.
Crowds about 100 deep lined both sides of the entrance as a hearse bearing Floyd’s coffin arrived at a church in Raeford.
As the casket rolled in, chants of “Black power,” and “George Floyd” and “no justice, no peace,” echoed from beneath the covered entrance.
16:45 GMT – ‘Burn down racism’: World rallies against George Floyd’s death
Taking a knee, banging drums and ignoring physical distancing measures, outraged protesters from Sydney to London kicked off global rallies against racism and police brutality on Saturday.
The death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of police in Minnesota, has brought tens of thousands out onto the streets during a pandemic that is ebbing in Asia and Europe but still spreading in other parts of the world.
Read more here.
16:00 GMT – Buffalo, NY, police officers charged with felony assault plead not guilty
Two Buffalo police officers were arraigned on felony assault charges on Saturday after a viral video viewed by more than 78 million people showed them pushing an elderly protester to the ground, injuring him.
Officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe, who have been suspended from the department, were part of a unit in tactical gear enforcing an 8pm curfew on Thursday when Martin Gugino, 75, was shoved, fell and struck his head on the sidewalk, the Buffalo News reported.
Both pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault during the virtual arraignment before Buffalo City Court Judge Craig D Hannah, the Buffalo News reported. Fifty-seven police officers have since resigned in solidarity with the two officers.
15:00 GMT – Protesters gather in Paris despite ban
Demonstrators in Paris have tried to gather in front of the US embassy, defying restrictions on planned gatherings imposed by authorities in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
They were met by riot police. The embassy was sealed off behind an imposing ring of metal barriers and roadblocks, but many protesters gathered nearby.
“You can fine me 10,000 or 20,000 times, the revolt will happen anyway,” Egountchi Behanzin, a founder of the Black African Defense League, told officers who stopped him to check his ID documents before he approached the building, according to The Associated Press news agency.
14:40 GMT – More protests planned in NYC
After another mostly peaceful night, more demonstrations were planned for Saturday in New York City amid lingering tension between protesters and police over the city’s 8pm curfew.
On Friday night, demonstrators again remained on city streets hours after the curfew. With police generally allowing some leeway, crowds mostly dwindled on their own at various locations.
But there were some minor flare-ups: About an hour after a Brooklyn protest ended, images on social media showed officers surrounding a group of protesters and chasing down some with batons.
14:10 GMT – Washington, DC, readies for ‘largest’ protest ever
Protesters are expected to gather in Washington, DC, for a huge demonstration on Saturday, its police chief said.
Activists have called on social media for a million people to attend the protest in the US capital.
“We have a lot of public, open-source information to suggest that the event on this upcoming Saturday may be one of the largest we’ve ever had in the city,” Washington, DC, Police Chief Peter Newsham told local media, adding that much of the city centre would be closed to traffic from early in the day.
Newsham did not give a crowd estimate. Local media has predicted tens of thousands of attendees.
As we make our voices heard, please continue to look out for one another. It’s crowded and many children are now also peacefully demonstrating.
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) June 6, 2020
13:30 GMT – Thousands protest in central London
Thousands of demonstrators protested in rainy central London against police violence and racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd.
Gathering in Parliament Square, a traditional venue for protests, the demonstrators “took the knee” in silence and then chanted Floyd’s name before applauding his memory.
The demonstrators have ignored advice from the government and police to avoid attending because of the coronavirus. In England, gatherings are limited to groups of six, provided people observe physical distancing guidelines.
Many held banners, including one that read “Racism is a Pandemic”. Demonstrations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement took place in Manchester, Cardiff in Wales and other UK cities.
12:05 GMT – Tokyo protesters condemn killing of George Floyd
Protesters gathered in Tokyo on Saturday, as global demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd spread to Japan, a nation not usually associated with mass discontent or police violence.
In front of Shibuya train station, an iconic landmark in Tokyo, people held signs that said, “End racism,” and “We stand with you”.
Although the turnout was a fraction of the thousands in American and European cities, the effort was symbolically significant.
09:30 GMT – LA Galaxy drop Aleksandar Katai after wife’s ‘racist and violent’ posts
Serbian footballer Aleksandar Katai has been released by LA Galaxy after his wife posted “racist and violent” messages on social media.
Galaxy announced they would “mutually part ways” with their new winger on Friday in a one-sentence news release.
Tea Katai made the posts on her Instagram story earlier this week. They included a photo with a caption written in Serbian urging police to “kill” protesters, another referring to protesters as “disgusting cattle,” and a third sharing a racist meme.
The Galaxy met with Aleksandar Katai on Thursday. He disavowed his wife’s posts late Wednesday night, saying the “views are not ones that I share and are not tolerated in my family”.
Galaxy fans have been calling for his dismissal. On Thursday, a handful of fans gathered by the David Beckham statue outside the club’s stadium holding a banner reading “No Racists in Our Club”.
08:50 GMT – ‘We were wrong’: NFL’s Goodell regrets stance on player protests
Roger Goodell, commissioner of the US National Football League (NFL), has said the league made mistakes in not listening to players, in a video denouncing racism in the country amid widespread protests over police brutality against Black people.
“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” Goodell said in the video published on Friday.
“We, the National Football League, believe Black lives matter.”
Read more here.
10:20 GMT – Thousands attend Black Lives Matter protests in Australia
Thousands of demonstrators held mostly peaceful protests across Australia on Saturday to honour the memory of George Floyd and to protest the deaths of Indigenous Australians in custody.
Black Lives Matter protesters poured into downtown Melbourne amid a strong police presence, with aerial footage showing the true scale of the march.
In Adelaide, crowds filled the city’s Victoria Square after police gave special permission on Friday for the event to proceed despite COVID-19 restrictions.
South Australia Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Harvey said he was “very pleased” with how the “exceptionally good behaviour by everyone who was here today”.
08:00 GMT – 30,000 attend Brisbane rally
Organisers of Australia’s Black Lives Matter rallies said about 30,000 people gathered in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, forcing police to close down two major streets.
The rally appeared orderly as police handed out masks to protesters and other officials provided hand sanitisers.
A Maori group did a traditional haka, or war dance, during the Brisbane protest. The large crowd later marched to a local police precinct, some chanting: “They say justice, we say murder.”
— Jessica van Vonderen (@jessvanvonderen) June 6, 2020
07:20 GMT – Michael Jordan to donate $100m to fight for racial equality
Former superstar Michael Jordan and his Nike-backed Jordan Brand are pledging to donate $100m over the next 10 years to support racial equality and social justice.
The pledge comes five days after Jordan said “we have had enough” when it comes to the racism that people of colour have faced in the US.
“Black lives matter. This isn’t a controversial statement,” read the joint statement from Jordan and his company on Friday. “Until the ingrained racism that allows our country’s institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of Black people.”
Part of the initiative involves creating greater access to education.
“Through our Jordan Wings program, we have been focused on providing access to education, mentorship and opportunity for Black youth facing the obstacles of systemic racism,” Jordan Brand president Craig Williams said in a statement.
05:33 GMT – Zuckerberg promises Facebook policy review
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, promised to review the social network’s policies that led to its decision to not moderate controversial messages posted by the US president that appeared to encourage violence against those protesting against police racism.
In a letter to employees, Zuckerberg wrote: “We’re going to review our policies allowing discussion and threats of state use of force to see if there are any amendments we should adopt.”
This, he said, includes “excessive use of police or state force. Given the sensitive history in the US, this deserves special consideration.”
04:55 GMT – Denver police ordered to stop using tear gas, plastic bullets
A US District Court Judge ordered Denver police to stop using tear gas, plastic bullets and other “less-than-lethal” force such as flash grenades against protesters in the city.
The temporary injunction is in response to a local lawsuit filed by protesters complaining about excessive force used by officers during public demonstrations following Floyd’s death.
“The Denver Police Department has failed in its duty to police its own,” Judge R Brooke Jackson wrote in the ruling.
“The Court has reviewed video evidence of numerous incidents in which officers used pepper spray on individual demonstrators who appeared to be standing peacefully, some of whom were speaking to or yelling at the officers, none of whom appeared to be engaging in violence or destructive behavior,” Jackson wrote.
04:20 GMT – Black Lives Matter rallies start in Australia amid court ban
The first of several Black Lives Matter protests across Australia got underway in Adelaide as a court in Sydney banned a planned rally in the city citing the risk of coronavirus transmissions.
Huge crowds were seen in the first gathering in the southern city of Adelaide, which was held to honour George Floyd and to protest against the deaths of Indigenous Australians in custody.
— Michael Smyth (@MichaelSmyth_) June 6, 2020
Thousands of people are rallying in Victoria Square for today’s anti-racism protest in Adelaide.
The Police Commissioner gave a blanket exemption from COVID-19 crowd restrictions for the protest to go ahead.
— Andrea Nicolas (@AndreaLNicolas) June 6, 2020
That was the plan in Sydney, as well, where thousands of people were expected to rally. But New South Wales state Supreme Court Justice Des Fagan ruled on Friday that the rally was not an authorised public assembly. Fagan said he understood the rally was designed to coincide with similar events in other countries.
“I don’t diminish the importance of the issues and no one would deny them in normal circumstances,” he said. “No one denies them that but we’re talking about a situation of a health crisis.”
01:30 GMT – Minneapolis no longer under curfew
Residents of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota were no longer under a curfew on Friday night and the state is planning to start sending state troopers and US National Guard members back home.
Governor Tim Walz credited peaceful protests for helping achieve rapid change in Minneapolis Police Department policy. On Friday, the city agreed to ban chokeholds and neck restraints as a civil rights investigation of the department begins.
01:05 GMT – Seattle bans police use of tear gas on protesters
Seattle’s mayor has banned the police use of tear gas as protests continue against the killing of George Floyd.
Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a news conference on Friday that the ban would last for 30 days.
The move came hours after three civilian police watchdog groups urged city leaders to ban the use of tear gas to control demonstrators. The groups said the move would build public trust and should remain in place until the department adopts policies and training for use of the chemical agent.
00:55 GMT – California governor orders state police to stop teaching carotid holds
California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered the state police training programme to stop teaching officers how to use a hold that can block the flow of blood to the brain.
Newsom, a Democrat, took the action after two weeks of protests across the country prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Floyd died on May 25 after a police officer put his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Since then, some police departments have moved to end the use of carotid holds that stop or slow the flow of blood to the brain. Newsom said that hold has no place in the 21st century.
00:53 GMT – Health expert: Tear gassing protesters may increase risk of coronavirus spread
An Emory University infectious disease specialist says he has serious concerns that police could be spreading the coronavirus by spraying tear gas on demonstrators.
Mass arrests and confining people in small spaces dramatically increase the risk of infecting others with the coronavirus, Dr Jay Varkey said on Friday.
Tear gas and other chemical agents causes people to rub their eyes, putting demonstrators at risk of being infected, Varkey said.
“When I see the wide use of things like tear gas or pepper bombs that by its nature cause people to immediately rub their eyes, that causes me tremendous consternation in terms of the risk of what that could cause in terms of infection transmission during a pandemic,” Varkey said.
“From a public health standpoint, I don’t know whether law enforcement is actively looking at agents other than tear gas or pepper bombs,” he said. “As a physician, do I think they should? Yes, absolutely.”
00:50 GMT – Ramaphosa notes ‘naked racism in the US’
South Africa’s president is noting the “naked racism in the United States” and says he firmly believes “this is a moment we should regard as a turning point with regard to tackling racism around the world”.
Cyril Ramaphosa spoke as the ruling African National Congress launched a Black Friday event in response to the “heinous murder” of George Floyd and “institutionalised racism” in the US, at home and “wherever it rears its ugly head”.
Ramaphosa said human dignity is a universal aspiration and respect for it is “the only guarantee of any nation’s prosperity”. He pointed out that South Africa’s enduring racial inequality a quarter-century after the end of the racist system of apartheid, and he expressed his “deepest regret” at the death of nearly a dozen South Africans allegedly at the hands of security forces during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown.
While he said the deaths “do not have the obvious racial dimensions of the murder of George Floyd, they do rely on a similar contempt for the intrinsic human worth of the victim” and must be condemned “just as vehemently”. The cases are under investigation.
00:25 GMT – Hundreds rally outside US embassy in Cyprus
About 250 people demonstrated peacefully outside the US embassy in the Cypriot capital, Nicosia. to denounce what they said were the “social and racial inequalities” at the root of protests triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer.
Demonstrators wore masks and kept several feet apart in line with social-distancing rules. They held placards reading, “We say no to racism, solidarity is our weapon,” and chanted slogans including “Power to the people, united we breathe”.
Police observed Friday’s hour-long protest from a distance as demonstrators knelt and held out clenched fists in a show of solidarity with protesters in the US.
A protestor holds a placard that reads in Greek, "We say no to Racism, Solidarity is our Weapon", outside the U.S. embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, June 5, 2020, during a demonstration against the recent killing of George Floyd by police officers USA. AP Photo/Petros Karadjias pic.twitter.com/TF0OWr0Wpy
— Petros Karadjias (@pkaradjias) June 5, 2020
The protest was organised by EDON, the youth wing of Cyprus’s communist-rooted party, AKEL. EDON Central Committee member Christoforos Pittara decried what he called the endemic racial inequality that still plagues the US, and criticised US President Donald Trump for resorting to racist rhetoric.
Pittara said justice for George Floyd is not enough and must be served for a “chain of murders” whose victims were not only African Americans, but the poor and dispossessed irrespective of race, creed or colour.
00:15 GMT – Mayor in Washington State city calls for firing of officers involved in deadly shooting
The mayor of Tacoma, Washington has told the city manager to fire four police officers following the death of a Black man after police restrained him in March.
Mayor Victoria Woodards on Thursday night directed City Manager Elizabeth Pauli to fire the officers involved in the restraint of 33-year-old Manuel Ellis.
Her order comes as the country has been roiled by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Four Minneapolis officers have been criminally charged. Woodards said the Tacoma officers should also be prosecuted over the death of Ellis.
“The officers who committed this crime should be fired and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Woodards said in a statement aired live on Tacoma television and Facebook. “I am demanding tonight that the Pierce County Sheriff review and confirm every action taken by each officer.”
The News Tribune reports the Pierce County medical examiner’s office ruled Ellis’s March 3 death a homicide caused by a lack of oxygen due to physical restraint. The newspaper reports methamphetamine intoxication and heart disease were contributing factors.
Authorities have said Ellis appeared to be suffering from some sort of breakdown when they approached him. They said he attacked officers who were trying to calm him down.
Friday, June 5
23:30 GMT – National Football League: We were wrong about taking a knee
The National Football League (NFL) on Friday reversed its long-standing antagonism towards the practice of taking a knee to protest over police injustice against Black Americans, championed by ostracised player Colin Kaepernick, saying it was wrong not to listen to NFL players on the subject as it encouraged people to protest peacefully.
In a video statement tweeted by the US league, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “We, the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People … We, the National Football League believe Black lives matter.”
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv
— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
Politicians, team owners and fellow players previously criticised Kaepernick and fans burned his jersey for taking a knee during the national anthem to protest violence against Black Americans. Now, in the wake of the George Floyd protests, global opinion has shifted so much that more people are now vilifying those who attack Kaepernick or misrepresent his stance.
New Orleans Saints star quarterback Drew Brees issued a public apology on Thursday after he was excoriated by teammates, other athletes and fans for saying he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States”.
Even US President Donald Trump echoed the earlier criticism on Friday, saying on Twitter that Brees should not have taken back his original stance.
I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2020
Trump posted his tweet not long after several members of the Jacksonsville Jaguars marched from their stadium to the steps of the local sheriff’s department in Florida to protest against the Floyd killing.
“Today we say no more,” wide receiver Chris Conley said. “Today we see a nation that can’t await change, a city that won’t sit still or be quiet.”
The march included Joshua Dobbs, Brandon Linder and Josh Lambo of the Jaguars along with family members. Coach Doug Marrone, general manager Dave Caldwell and assistant coach Terry Robiskie also walked in what the team called an attempt to “raise awareness for racial injustices against the Black community,” with many wearing “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts.
22:28: Biden lashes out at Trump for invoking Floyd name while crowing about positive unemployment data
In a speech in Delaware on Friday, US presidential candidate Joe Biden sharply criticised US President Donald Trump for invoking George Floyd’s name during a news conference about a positive jobs report released that morning.
At the news conference, Trump suggested that Floyd might have appreciated the recent protests and the debates they have sparked as being a “great day for him”.
Biden called the comments “despicable”.
“For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd, I frankly think it’s despicable,” he said. “And the fact that he did so on the day when black unemployment rose, Hispanic unemployment rose, black youth unemployment skyrocketed, tells you everything you need to know about this man and what he really cares about.”
22:07 – Video documents attacks on journalists during Floyd protests
Hundreds of journalists from across the globe have gotten caught in the crossfire between protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd and law enforcement officials attempting to rein them in. Some have been deliberately targeted by those law enforcement officials, as a video compilation by the Committee to Protect Journalists demonstrates. Since the protests began on May 26, more than 250 abridgments of press freedom have been reported across the US by journalists covering the demonstrations, according to the CPJ.
Since the death of #GeorgeFloyd in police custody sparked #protests across the U.S., police have assaulted and arrested journalists covering them—in some cases causing serious injury. CPJ's @MustafaHameed compiled some of the shocking moments caught on video. #PressFreedom pic.twitter.com/LCgGurJ91r
— Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) June 5, 2020
21:52 GMT – ‘Stand up to Trump’ Canadians tell Trudeau
Canadian protesters chanted “Stand up to Trump!” to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he joined thousands at an anti-racism rally on Friday and took a knee alongside protesters.
Trudeau, wearing a black mask and surrounded by bodyguards, made a surprise appearance at the “No justice = No peace” rally in front of Parliament. His appearance came a day after police shot and killed an Indigenous woman during a wellness check in eastern Canada.
Trudeau three times took a knee alongside other protesters, a gesture used to protest against police brutality and the treatment of African Americans by police. Afterwards, several people thanked Trudeau for kneeling.
Trudeau did not speak at the rally on Friday and left as the protesters began a march to the US Embassy, near the Parliament building.
20:28 GMT – Facebook says no sign of foreign targeting of Floyd protests
Facebook Inc said on Friday that it had seen no evidence of coordinated foreign interference on its platforms targeting anti-racism protests in the US, despite assertions from the US attorney general that foreign groups were trying to exacerbate the situation.
“We have been actively looking and we haven’t yet seen foreign interference or domestic coordinated inauthentic behaviour targeting these protests,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, in a call with reporters.
“We want to caution people against jumping to conclusions without clear evidence of foreign interference,” Gleicher said.
US Attorney General William Barr said on Thursday that foreign groups were using disinformation campaigns like those mounted by Russia during the 2016 presidential election to widen divisions in US society.
“Some of the foreign hackers and groups that are associated with foreign governments are focusing in on this particular situation we have here and trying to exacerbate it in every way they can,” Barr said.
19:05 GMT – US Park Police admit ‘mistake’ in saying tear gas wasn’t used on peaceful protesters
US Park Police (USPP) spokesperson Sergeant Eduardo Delgado admitted on Friday that it was a “mistake” to deny that tear gas was used to disperse peaceful protesters ahead of a controversial photo opportunity for President Donald Trump in front of a Washington, DC church.
Media reports challenged a Tuesday statement from the Park Police that said tear gas was not used to “secure” the area in downtown DC where Trump took a photo in front of a church that was damaged during protests against police brutality.
The statement said smoke bombs and pepper spray projectiles were used, but did not consider these to be tear gas.
“I’m not saying it’s not a tear gas, but I’m just saying we use a pepper ball that shoots a powder”, Delgado said in an interview with Vox.
“The point is we admitted to using what we used,” Delgado said. “I think the term ‘tear gas’ doesn’t even matter anymore. It was a mistake on our part for using ‘tear gas’ because we just assumed people would think CS or CN”.
CS and CN are two common types of tear gas, Vox reported.
Delgado said the USPP statement was correct in relation to the conduct of the park police.
17:57 GMT – Remaining National Guard troops in DC to return to home base: reports
The Pentagon will be sending back the remaining 900 active-duty troops who were sent to the Washington, DC area to potentially respond to civil unrest, and they are expected to start heading back to their home bases, a US official told Reuters news agency.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the order had been signed by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and that the troops would be heading back to Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York.
The report came after Utah Senator Mike Lee tweeted that DC Mayor Muriel Bowser was ‘kicking’ National Guard troops out of hotels in the US capital.
Just heard that Mayor Bowser is kicking the Utah National Guard out of all DC hotels tomorrow. More than 1200 troops from 10 states are being evicted. This is unacceptable. 1/2
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) June 5, 2020
17:30 GMT – Minneapolis to ban chokeholds by police
Negotiators for the city of Minneapolis have agreed with the state to ban the use of chokeholds by police, and to require police to report and intervene any time they see an unauthorised use of force by another officer.
The moves are part of a stipulation between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which launched a civil rights investigation this week in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody. The City Council is expected to approve the agreement Friday.
The agreement, which will be enforceable in court, would require any officers, regardless of tenure or rank, to immediately report the use of any neck restraint or chokehold from the scene to their commander or their commander’s superiors.
Similarly, any officer who sees another officer commit any unauthorised use of force, including any chokehold or neck restraint, must try to intervene verbally and even physically. If they do not, they will be subject to discipline as severe as if they themselves had used the prohibited force.
The agreement also requires authorisation from the police chief or a designated deputy chief to use crowd control weapons, including chemical agents, rubber bullets, flash-bangs, batons, and marking rounds. And it requires more timely decisions on disciplining officers.
17:00 GMT – Outrage in Canada after police killing of Indigenous woman
The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in Canada has called for an independent investigation into the fatal police shooting of Chantel Moore.
Moore, 26, was reportedly killed as police carried out a wellness check in northwestern New Brunswick.
Police say Moore ran out of her home with a knife and threatened the officer who shot her.
These deaths happened within the past month, two in the past week. Who do we call when our family members are in need help? We obviously can't call the police, I'm not comfortable with calling the police.
Distress/mental health home services are needed, so we protect our famiy.
— IndigenousXca – on hiatus (@IndigenousXca) June 5, 2020
According to Canadian media, an ex-boyfriend of Moore called police to do a wellness check on the 26-year-old. He was reportedly concerned because she had been harassed, including by receiving “strange” messages on Facebook.
Quebec’s independent police watchdog group has sent several investigators to the area to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
“The family and community of Chantal need answers as to why she was shot on a health check by the police,” the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council said. “Justice must not wait and every power must be exerted to ensure that justice is served in an appropriate immediate, and respectful way.”
The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is calling for an immediate independent investigation into the death of Chantel Moore.
"The family and community of Chantel needs answers as to why she was shot on a health check by police. Justice must not wait…" pic.twitter.com/HeFlwvEy8u
— Silas Brown (@silasjvbrown) June 5, 2020
16:30 GMT – Officers suspended after man, 75, is shoved to ground; man remains in serious condition
Two police officers in Buffalo, New York have been suspended after pushing a 75-year-old man who then fell down and cracked his head.
The video from WFBO of Thursday night’s encounter, which happened near the conclusion of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, quickly sparked outrage.
It showed an officer pushing a man who approached a line of officers clearing demonstrators from Niagara Square around the time of an 8pm curfew. The man falls backward and hits his head on the pavement. Blood leaks out as officers walk past.
The mayor, Byron Brown, said in a statement that the man, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was in serious condition. A hospital official said he was “alert and oriented”, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted Friday morning.
The district attorney’s office “continues to investigate the incident”, officials said in a news release.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed the suspensions, tweeting that what was seen on video was “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful”.
16:25 GMT – Witness: Floyd didn’t resist arrest, tried to defuse things
A man who was with George Floyd on the night he died said his friend did not resist arrest and instead tried to defuse the situation before he ended up handcuffed on the ground and pleading for air as an officer pressed a knee against his neck.
Maurice Lester Hall, a longtime friend of Floyd, was a passenger in Floyd’s car when police approached him May 25 as they responded to a call about someone using a forged bill at a shop. Hall told The New York Times that Floyd was trying to show he was not resisting.
“I could hear him pleading, ‘Please, officer, what’s all this for?'” Hall told the newspaper.
Hall is a key witness in the state’s investigation into the four officers who apprehended Floyd. Derek Chauvin, the white officer who continued pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck even after Floyd became motionless, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers are charged with aiding and abetting. All four officers were fired.
15:50 GMT – DC mayor renames street near White House ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza’
Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, DC, has renamed a section of a street near the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza”.
The move comes just days after peaceful protesters were forcefully cleared to make space for a Trump photo op. Rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, have sued Trump and several officials with his administration over the incident.
The section of 16th street in front of the White House is now officially “Black Lives Matter Plaza”. pic.twitter.com/bbJgAYE35b
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) June 5, 2020
15:45 GMT – Trump slammed for ‘this is great day’ for George Floyd remarks
President Donald Trump is facing further criticism after making remarks about George Floyd during his news conference on job gains in the US.
“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country. This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody”, Trump said.
The remarks drew immediate ire from observers and journalists present, who questioned how Floyd would enjoy unemployment numbers after being killed.
“How is this a great day for George Floyd?” I shouted to President Trump, before he turned and exited the Rose Garden without taking a single question. https://t.co/ks60ONgeUn
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) June 5, 2020
Trump finished his news conference without taking questions, a move that observers have also criticised.
US unemployment figures dropped to slightly over 13 percent, new figures from May show.
Trump attributed these figures to his administration’s response to the coronavirus, including pushing states to reopen their economies.
The US has nearly 1.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases. There have been over 108,000 US deaths since the pandemic began spreading in March.
14:50 GMT – Minnesota eyes changes for how police killings are handled
Minnesota’s county attorneys want to give the state attorney general the authority to handle all cases of police-involved deaths.
The Minnesota County Attorneys Association voted Thursday in transferring that power during an emergency meeting, which included Attorney General Keith Ellison. The attorney general is leading the state’s case against the four police officers involved in George Floyd’s death instead of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
State lawmakers would need to pass legislation during this month’s special session to give the attorney general the ongoing authority.
The county attorneys are also calling on the legislature to provide additional funding to the state attorney general’s office and create a unit within Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate police killings of civilians.
“If this is the path the legislature and governor choose to take, my office will accept the responsibility,” Ellison said. “But it must come with resources sufficient to do the job thoroughly and to do justice in the way Minnesotans have a right to expect.”
Ellison is one of 18 Democratic attorneys general who are asking Congress to grant their offices “clear statutory authority under federal law” to investigate “unconstitutional policing by local police departments” in their respective states, the Star Tribune reported.
14:48 GMT – Large letters spelling out ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted on busy DC street
Parts of a major Washington, DC street were blocked off so that large, yellow letters that spell out “Black Lives Matter” could be painted on the road.
— Daniella Cheslow (@DaniellaCheslow) June 5, 2020
14:40 – Minneapolis City Council prepares to vote on changes to police department
The Minneapolis City Council is preparing to vote on changes to the city’s police department in response to the death of George Floyd.
City leaders and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights are working out an agreement for a temporary restraining order to force some immediate changes and set a timeline for the state’s civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.
The council meets Friday afternoon. If the council approves the agreement, the order would require court approval.
The state human rights department opened a civil rights investigation into allegations of racial discrimination by the police department on Tuesday. The investigation into policies, procedures and practices seeks to determine if the force has engaged in systematic discriminatory practices toward people of colour and to ensure that any such practices are stopped.
14:30 – Slave action block removed in Virginia city’s downtown
A 176-year-old slave auction block has been removed from a Virginia city’s downtown and will be displayed in a museum.
The 800-pound stone was pulled from the ground at a Fredericksburg street corner early Friday after its removal was delayed for months by lawsuits and the coronavirus pandemic, The Free Lance-Star reported.
The weathered stone was sprayed with graffiti twice and chants of “move the block” erupted this week during local demonstrations over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, city officials said in a statement announcing the removal.
The slave auction block in Fredericksburg, Virginia has been removed. pic.twitter.com/NBYNlzRNNA
— Kevin M. Levin (@KevinLevin) June 5, 2020
A local chapter of the NAACP called for the stone’s removal in 2017, saying it was a relic of “a time of hatred and degradation”.
In 2019, the City Council voted for the block’s removal and relocation to the Fredericksburg Area Museum. A judge upheld that decision in February after two businesses near the auction block sued to stop the relocation.
The museum plans to display the knee-high stone in an exhibit chronicling the “movement from slavery to accomplishments by the local African American community.”
14:25 GMT – EU express concerns about policing in US
European Union lawmakers are expressing concern about US police action linked to the death of George Floyd.
The incidents were debated by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights as the protest movement since Floyd’s death gathered pace in Europe and around the world.
Finnish Greens lawmaker Heidi Hautala says “the police should not be there to shoot when some loot. The police should be there to protect, and it is clear that widespread reforms in the law enforcement in the United States are needed.”
Irish EU lawmaker Sean Kelly says some of the problem is due to a failure of leadership. He says what happened in the US is “chilling in the extreme. I think it indicates what can happen when you have poor leadership.”
“Leaders can either divide or unite,” said Kelly. “Good unite. Bad divide. That’s what we see unfortunately in America at the moment.”
Swedish liberal parliamentarian Karin Karlsbro said, “America has a long and tragic history on police brutality. At the heart of this lies racism and segregation based on history. This is a systematic problem that needs to be addressed at all levels in the US.”
14:20 GMT – Another Confederate statue comes down
The city of Mobile, Alabama, removed a Confederate statue early Friday.
The bronze figure of Admiral Raphael Semmes had become a flashpoint for protests. It was removed from its pedestal after being vandalised this week and before demonstrations announced for Sunday calling for it to be taken down.
The removal of the 120-year-old figure follows days of protests in Alabama and across the nation over killings by police of African-Americans.
Mobile removes Confederate statue without warning overnight after days of George Floyd protests.
It’s not yet clear why the statue was taken down. The Alabama city is expected to release more details today. Follow reporter @Charress for the latest info. https://t.co/Z3XWBSZeJ7 pic.twitter.com/9CZqqwHpmA
— AL.com (@aldotcom) June 5, 2020
Semmes was a Confederate commerce raider, sinking Union-allied ships during the Civil War. He later became a “Lost Cause” hero to Southerners who lamented the end of the Confederacy.
The city of Semmes, Alabama, outside Mobile, was incorporated in 2010 and named for him.
14:00 GMT – Alabama police investigating cross burning
Police are investigating a cross burning on a bridge in Macon County, Alabama.
Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson says the burning cross was seen on top of a bridge over highway Interstate 85 on Thursday night. Brunson says deputies arrived and helped extinguish the fire.
John Bolton, a motorist who called 911, told WRBL-TV there was a cross, burning tyre and fuel canister.
The sheriff says there are no suspects so far.
13:55 GMT – Twitter blocks Trump campaign video tribute to Floyd
Twitter has blocked a Trump campaign video tribute to George Floyd over a copyright claim, in a move that adds to tensions between the social media platform and the US president, one of its most widely followed users.
The company put a label on a video posted by the @TeamTrump account that said, “This media has been disabled in response to a claim by the copyright owner.” The video was still up on President Donald Trump’s YouTube channel and includes pictures of Floyd, whose death sparked widespread protests, at the start.
“Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” Twitter said in a statement.
The 03:45-minute clip is a montage of photos and videos of peaceful marches and police officers hugging protesters interspersed with some scenes of burning buildings and vandalism, set to gentle piano music and Trump speaking.
It is the latest action that Twitter has taken against Trump, who has threatened to retaliate against social media companies.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the protests in the US over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Here are a few things to catch up on:
- George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard on a bystander video repeatedly pleading with officers, saying: “I can’t breathe.” He eventually lies 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, and all have been charged.
- 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 Thursday’s protests here.