Riots Over The Death Of An African-American In The United States Spanned Several States
Protests that broke out earlier this week in Minneapolis (Minnesota) over the death of African-American George Floyd spread to several dozen major American cities by Saturday evening, turning into riots.
Federal and local authorities are urgently trying to subdue the demonstrators, addressing them in all possible ways, imposing a curfew, and enlisting the help of the US National guard. Outraged citizens demand justice in response.
Looters are operating in stores, and the media reports on the first victims of the protests, including law enforcement officials. Almost 1.5 thousand people were detained across the country.
Saturday morning in the US began with the news that an employee of the US Federal security service died from a gunshot wound received at night in Oakland (California). According to a city police official, two law enforcement officers were injured, one of whom later died. Acting Deputy Secretary of homeland security Ken Cuccinelli later noted that the authorities will consider as "acts of domestic terrorism" attacks on law enforcement officers during the protests.
In Detroit (Michigan), a 19-year-old boy died after an unknown person opened fire on a crowd of protesters from his car. In Indianapolis, Indiana, at least one person was killed and three others were shot.
In different cities, there were cases of cars hitting crowds of protesters, the victims are both among the demonstrators and the police. There are reports of injured journalists. According to estimates by the Associated Press, by Saturday evening, at least 1.3 thousand people were detained by police in various American cities.
The Governor of Minnesota, where the protests spread, on Saturday morning, ordered the first time since World War II to fully mobilize the state's National Guard forces. Later, his example was followed by the leaders of other American cities and States. By evening, National Guard troops were fully or partially mobilized in Minnesota, California, Georgia, Ohio, Colorado, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Utah, Texas, and the Metropolitan District of Columbia.
With the approach of darkness, local authorities began to impose restrictions on the movement of the population at night. A curfew by Saturday evening was imposed in more than 25 including quite large American cities.
Police use tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters. The US Department of Defense has ordered several military units to increase their readiness levels in case they are sent to Minnesota.
Media attention is constantly drawn to those who, instead of participating in peaceful actions with posters and banners, prefer to "profit" by robbing stores. If at the beginning of the protests, looters swept off the shelves of food and household goods in supermarkets, by the weekend many of them switched to more valuable "loot."
American TV channels show footage of mostly young people emptying stores of electronics, sports equipment, as well as clothing, shoes, and accessories of famous brands. The looters can't be identified - they have medical masks and bandanas on their faces, which no one has canceled in the conditions of the new coronavirus pandemic.
Representatives of the authorities and public leaders, often black, call the population to order from TV screens. They all try to convey the main message - peaceful demonstrations demanding justice are understandable and even welcome, but riots bordering on violence only desecrate Floyd's memory.
Donald Trump made a speech after the successful launch of an American manned spacecraft to the International space station for the first time in nine years. Instead of fully devoting his speech to the success of the United States in the space industry, the American leader devoted an impressive part of it to the protests in the country.
"The death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis was a tragedy that should not have happened and that horrified, outraged, and saddened Americans across the country," Trump said, noting that he had already spoken with Floyd's relatives and expressed his condolences to them. "What is needed now is calm, not hatred, justice, not chaos," he said.
Earlier on Twitter, he threatened protesters with numerous arrests and the use of the "unlimited power" of the military. "Liberal governors and mayors need to be much tougher, otherwise the Federal government will step in and do what needs to be done, which includes using the unlimited power of our military and numerous arrests," he pointed out.
In Minnesota and several other States, mass protests and riots began this week after posting on the Internet a video of the arrest of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, suspected of using counterfeit bills. White police officers handcuffed the African-American man and dragged him to the road. One of them put his knee on the detainee's neck, ignoring Floyd's screams that he could not breathe, and soon the African-American died in a hospital in the city. On May 26, all four law enforcement officers were fired, and one of them was taken into custody on charges of manslaughter.