Protesters turned out in force across the US on Tuesday, defying sweeping curfews and a forceful police response.
Thousands of peaceful demonstrators demanding justice for George Floyd and an end to police brutality remained on New York City streets on Tuesday night, despite a new week-long curfew announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in an effort to bring an end to the chaos.
“We’re going to have a tough few days. We’re going to beat it back,” De Blasio said.
On the eighth day of nationwide demonstrations, Floyd’s hometown of Houston held a memorial march that drew tens of thousands.
Floyd’s family was in attendance, alongside the mayor, the police chief and a group of protesters on horseback, with attendees paying respects to a “gentle giant”.
The memorial march was organized by the well-known Houston rappers Trae Tha Truth, who was a longtime friend of Floyd’s, and Bun B, who worked with Floyd’s family for the event. “We’re gonna represent him right,” Trae Tha Truth told the crowd of several hundred gathered for the march. “We are gonna tear the system from the inside out.”
Meanwhile Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, Gianna, and her mother, Roxie Washington, made their first public appearance at a press conference in Minneapolis.
“I wanted everybody to know that this is what those officers took from …” Washington said while holding back sobs, her daughter looking up at her. “At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father. He will never see her grow up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle.”
“I’m here for my baby and I’m here for George, because I want justice for him. I want justice for him because he was good. No matter what anybody thinks,” she said, pointing down to her daughter. “And this is the proof that he was a good man.”
Elsewhere, mass demonstrations continued in defiance of local curfews. Armored military vehicles rolled through the streets of Washington DC as protesters marched and kneeled near the White House in the hours before the district’s 7pm curfew.
Protests in the nation’s capital on Tuesday lacked the intensity seen the prior night, when protesters were forcibly cleared from near the White House to make way for Donald Trump.
The crowd outside Lafayette Park was peaceful, using colorful children’s street chalk to write Black Lives Matter slogans on the asphalt in front of St John’s Church.
The capital, however, remains on high alert, with about 1,600 US soldiers moved to the DC region, according to the Pentagon. The troops “are not participating in defense support to civil authority operations”, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said in a statement. The president has threatened to use the military to quell civil unrest, but he would have to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 to do so.
Thousands gathered for a demonstration at the Washington Monument, while striking images showed the steps of the Lincoln Memorial manned by members of the DC national guard.
The continued unrest comes as state of Minnesota filed a civil rights charge against the Minneapolis police department in the wake of Floyd’s death. The state says it will investigate the department’s policies and practices over the last 10 years to determine whether it has engaged in “systemic” discrimination against people of color.
Source: The Guardian