WASHINGTON: Police fired tear gas outside the White House late on Sunday night as anti-racism protesters again took to the streets to voice fury at police brutality, and major US cities were put under curfew to suppress rioting.
With the Trump administration branding instigators of six nights of rioting as domestic terrorists, there were more confrontations between protesters and police and fresh outbreaks of looting.
Violent clashes erupted repeatedly in a small park next to the White House, with authorities using tear gas, pepper spray and flash bang grenades to disperse crowds who lit several large fires and damaged property.
Local US leaders appealed to citizens to give constructive outlet to their rage over the death of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis, while night-time curfews were imposed in cities including Washington, Los Angeles and Houston.
One closely watched protest was outside the state capitol in Minneapolis’ twin city of St Paul, where several thousand people gathered before marching down a highway.
Hundreds of police and National Guard troops were deployed ahead of the protest.
At one point, some of the protesters who had reached a bridge were forced to scramble for cover when a truck drove at speed after having apparently breached a barricade.
The driver was taken to hospital after the protesters hauled him from the vehicle, although there were no immediate reports of other casualties. The New York Times said he was later arrested.
Minneapolis police later reported they had discovered caches of homemade firebombs around the two cities.
There were other large-scale protests Sunday night, including in New York and Miami.
Washington’s mayor ordered a curfew from 11pm until 6am, as a report in the New York Times said that President Donald Trump had been rushed by Secret Service agents into an underground bunker at the White House on Friday night during an earlier protest.
In Louisville, Kentucky, CBS affiliate WLKY-TV reported the local police chief as saying law enforcement shot and killed a man early Monday morning as they broke up a crowd, although it was unclear if the group was taking part in protests.
Looting was reported Sunday night in Philadelphia and the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, and images on Fox TV showed ransacked Rolex and Gucci stores in New York city.
The shocking death last Monday of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis ignited the nationwide wave of outrage over law enforcement’s repeated use of lethal force against unarmed African Americans.
Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2020