Major clashes erupt in US cities during protests over killing of George Floyd

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Tens of thousands of Americans have taken to the streets to participate in protests over the killing of George Floyd, an African American man who died last week after a white police officer pushed his knee into Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes while Floyd was on the ground handcuffed in Minneapolis.

Captured on camera, the footage has prompted the organization of demonstrations in cities and towns across the US. Many of the protests have been peaceful, but some turned violent: Businesses looted, journalists attacked, cars set on fire.

Police have arrested nearly 1,700 people in 22 cities since Thursday, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Clashes have occurred between protestors and police, protesters and journalists, and police and journalists – and many were documented on camera.

Here are the moments that made headlines from this weekend’s tension-filled protests:

Washington, DC

In the nation’s capital, demonstrators marched to the White House during the day chanting “What’s his name? George Floyd!” But the largely peaceful protests took a vicious turn when demonstrators spray painted a US Treasury building with expletives, set dumpsters and cars on fire, and attacked a Fox News journalist.

Leland Vittert, an anchor and reporter for Fox News, was reporting on protests outside the White House Friday night when protesters targeted Vittert and his crew, and chased them out of the area, breaking their equipment and throwing a microphone at his back.

“It was the most scared I have been since being chased out of Tahrir Square [in Cairo, Egypt] by a group from the Muslim Brotherhood,” Vittert said during an interview with Fox News host Neil Cavuto.

New York

Daytime protests in the Big Apple ushered in evening clashes between police and protesters. Demonstrators threw objects at officers, torched and battered police vehicles, and blocked roads.

On Saturday in the New York borough of Brooklyn, a crowd of protesters attempted to set up a barricade against police cars. The law enforcement vehicles lurched into the crowd, knocking some protesters to the ground.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press conference on Sunday he had asked the state’s attorney general to review the police conduct in the recent days of protests for an “independent, informed review of what was done right, and what was done wrong.”


In Arizona’s capital city, police had to defend the department’s headquarters on Saturday night. Shortly after 10 p.m., Phoenix police said a large group of protesters downtown had become an unlawful assembly, the Arizona Republic reported.

Videos on social media showed protesters shouting, “Quit your jobs!” and throwing objects at police officers. Fireworks were reported to be set off.

In the neighboring city of Scottsdale, protesters smashed shop windows at Neiman Marcus and Urban Outfitters, looting goods from the stores, and damaging the buildings.


Though the capital city of Georgia ordered a 9 p.m. curfew, that didn’t stop individuals from going out after hours on Saturday. Someone riding an ATV downtown struck an Atlanta police officer who sustained “significant injuries,” according to the police department. The driver was taken into custody.

Just before the incident, the mayor of Atlanta warned the public about the risk of catching the novel coronavirus during the protests.

“If you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a COVID test this week,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, adding that “there is still a pandemic in America that’s killing black and brown people at higher numbers.”

The US has been worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 1.7 million cases and over 103,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins.

Demonstrators march near Ebenezer Baptist Church, Friday, May 30, 2020 in Atlanta. (AP)
Demonstrators march near Ebenezer Baptist Church, Friday, May 30, 2020 in Atlanta. (AP)

The demonstrations have broken out as many cities were re-opening following shutdowns due to COVID-19 preventative measures.


Journalists have reported multiple clashes with police in Minneapolis, the epicenter of protests since the death of Floyd in the city on Monday.

On Friday freelance journalist Linda Tirado was shot in the eye while taking photographs of the protests in the city. On Saturday a reporter for the Los Angeles Times said Minnesota’s State Patrol had fired tear gas at a group of reporters and photographers.

“I had my notebook in my hand when the Minnesota State Patrol was advancing on protesters and us. We identified ourselves as press and they fired tear gas cannisters on us at point blank range,” said Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske in a video posted on Twitter.

Officials in Minneapolis said on Sunday they’ve succeeded, for the moment, in stopping the violent protests that have ravaged parts of the city for several days.

More than 4,000 members of the US National Guard have been sent to the state, a number that is expected to rise to nearly 11,000.

A protester shouts in front of a fire during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Los Angeles on May 30, 2020. (AP)
A protester shouts in front of a fire during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Los Angeles on May 30, 2020. (AP)

- With The Associated Press

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