Looting broke out on Sunday in Southern California, a tanker truck drove into marchers in Minneapolis and demonstrators clashed with police in Boston and Washington, D.C. as the United States struggled to contain chaotic protests over race and policing, Reuters informed.
National Guard troops were deployed in 15 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. as darkness fell in major cities still reeling from five nights of violence and destruction that began with peaceful protests over the death of a black man, George Floyd, in police custody.
“I hate to see my city like this but at the end we need justice,” said 18-year-old Jahvon Craven as he stood on an overpass watching protesters below on Interstate 35 in downtown Minneapolis moments before an 8 p.m. curfew went into effect in that city.
Floyd, 46, died on Monday after video showed a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. It touched off outrage that has swept across a politically and racially divided nation in the midst of a polarizing presidential campaign and recently released from strict stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic that threw millions out of work.
Minority communities were hit especially hard by the pandemic and those clamp-downs.
On Sunday afternoon, a tanker truck drove into a throng of demonstrators on I-35 in Minneapolis, which had been closed to traffic. The driver was pulled from the cab and beaten by protesters before being taken into custody by Minneapolis police. It did not appear any protesters were hit by the truck.
Authorities imposed curfews on dozens of cities across America, the most since 1968 in the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, which also happened during a presidential election campaign and amid the upheaval of anti-war demonstrations.
In Santa Monica, upscale stores were looted along the city’s popular Third Street Promenade before police moved in to make arrests. The vandalism followed a largely peaceful march earlier in the beachside city. Further south, in the Los Angeles suburb of Long Beach, a group of young men and women smashed windows of a shopping mall and looted stores before they were dispersed ahead of a 6 p.m. curfew.
In Washington, D.C., protesters set fires near the White House, the smoke mixing with billowing clouds of tear gas as police sought to clear them from the area.
Sporadic violence broke out in Boston following peaceful protests as activists threw bottles at police officers and lit a cruiser on fire. Philadelphia announced a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew after a day of protests and looting.
Several hundred demonstrators marched through downtown Miami chanting: “No justice, no peace,” past a detention center where inmates could be seen in the narrow windows waving shirts.
The demonstrations brought out a diversity of people, a point one young black woman noted at a march in Culver City, California on Sunday. “It means a lot to see people other than black people joining the demonstration,” said Candace Collins.
Protests spread around the globe, with events in London and Berlin on Sunday and others on Monday including in New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands.