Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of major U.S. cities on Tuesday for an eighth consecutive night of protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody, defying pleas by mayors, strict curfews and other measures meant to curtail them.
Major marches took place in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta and New York City as well as in Washington, D.C. near the park where demonstrators were cleared on Monday to make a path for President Donald Trump so he could walk from the White House to a historic church for a photo.
Outside the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday afternoon a throng took to one knee, chanting “silence is violence” and “no justice, no peace,” as officers faced them just before the government-imposed curfew.
The crowd remained in Lafayette Park and elsewhere in the capitol after dark, despite the curfew and vows by Trump to crack down on what he has called lawlessness by “hoodlums” and “thugs,” using National Guard or even the U.S. military if necessary.
After the curfew began in New York City, thousands of chanting and cheering protesters marched from the Barclays Center down Flatbush toward the Brooklyn Bridge as police helicopters whirred overhead.
A crowd, gathered at an entrance to the Manhattan Bridge roadway, chanted at riot police: “Walk with us! Walk with us.”
Police in riot helmets, far fewer than on previous nights, watched at a distance from the sidewalk as cars honked rhythmically in support.
Although rallies on behalf of Floyd and other victims of police brutality have been largely peaceful during the day, after dark, each night crowds have turned to rioting, vandalism, arson and looting.
On Monday night, five police officers were hit by gunfire in two cities.
Floyd died after a white policeman pinned his neck under a knee for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25, reigniting the explosive issue of police brutality against African Americans five months before the November presidential election.
The officer who knelt on Floyd, 44-year-old Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers involved were fired but not yet charged.
Trump has threatened to use the military to battle violence that has erupted nightly, often after a day of peaceful protests. He has derided local authorities, including state governors, for their response to the disturbances.
On Monday night, demonstrators smashed windows and looted luxury stores on tony Fifth Avenue in New York, and set fire to a Los Angeles strip mall. Four police officers were shot in St. Louis and one in Las Vegas who was critically wounded, authorities said.
Officers were injured in clashes elsewhere, including one who was in critical condition after being hit by a car in the Bronx, police said.