Minggu, 31 Mei 2020

US riots, George Floyd death: Protesters descend on White House -

Thousands of protesters have descended on the White House area to call for justice for George Floyd, lighting fires as police spray tear gas in response.

Loud chants of “Black lives matter” could be heard from the White House grounds, but officers from the Park Police and Secret Service were keeping them far back from the heavily fortified Executive Mansion.

Now multiple large fires can be seen burning near the building.

Another public building with bathrooms nearby in the President’s Park has also been set ablaze.

Nearby St John’s Church has also reportedly been set on fire.

On-the-ground reports describe the scene as “descending into chaos in the last twenty minutes” as tear gas was fired on protesters.

Fireworks are being hurled at police by the crowds.

The city is supposed to go under curfew at 11pm local time, which won’t be lifted until 6am.

It’s believed that President Donald Trump is still at the White House.

Mr Trump was reportedly taken into a special secure bunker on Friday night.

“Secret Service agents abruptly rushed the president to the underground bunker used in the past during terrorist attacks,” the New York Times reported.

“The President and his family were rattled by their experience on Friday night, according to several advisers.”

Late on Friday, Mr Trump tweeted that protesters could have been attacked with “vicious dogs and ominous weapons”, and slammed the DC mayor for not providing police to protect the White House.

“They let the ‘protesters’ scream and rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on them, hard – didn’t know what hit them,” he said.

“(The protesters) would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least.”

Beside the stepped-up law enforcement presence, the White House was unusually quiet for a Sunday as staffers were encouraged to keep away from the complex.

“Due to ongoing demonstrations, please avoid coming to the White House Complex today if it all possible,” an email alert to staffers stated.

One particularly powerful image showed one police officer among a row kneeling down so he was eye-to-eye with an African-American protester.

Mr Trump has not directly addressed the White House protesters, but he has called for military intervention to quell the protests across the country.

Taking to Twitter, the US President denounced the protesters as “Radical Left Anarchists”, claiming “the world is watching and laughing” at his Democratic rival Joe Biden, and that the National Guard must be used “before it is too late”.

The President also said Antifa would be designated a terrorist organisation by the US, even though experts say this would be unconstitutional.

Antifa, short for anti-fascists, refers to a loosely organised coalition of activists and self-described anarchists who have been involved in street protests for several years.

Mr Trump gave no other details, but the American Civil Liberties Union said on its website that the USA Patriot Act “expanded the definition of terrorism to cover 'domestic'," as opposed to international terrorism.

The President has claimed the far-left organisers are key drivers of street violence in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Protests have now erupted in at least 30 US cities over the death of unarmed black man Floyd at the hands of police.

Three people have been shot, one killed and hundreds arrested in the violence, with businesses smashed, looted and burned down in the unrest.

Police have arrested at least 1669 people in 22 US cities in the past three days.

Floyd’s death is one of a litany of racial tragedies that have thrown the country into chaos amid the coronavirus pandemic that has left millions out of work and killed more than 100,000 people in the US, including disproportionate numbers of black people.

“We’re sick of it. The cops are out of control,” protester Olga Hall said in Washington DC. “They’re wild. There’s just been too many dead boys.”

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2020-06-01 01:30:34Z

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