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Tear gas fired to disperse protestors outside White House as clashes erupt against George Floyd killing

Protestors took over the park next to the White White House while the authorities used tear gas, pepper spray and flash bang grenades to diffuse them as they lit several large fires.

SNS | New Delhi |

Even as curfew is imposed in the major cities of United States, after the protests against the killing of George Floyd taking place all over United States turned violent, police fired tear gas outside the White House late on Sunday as to disperse the protestors outside. The national capital was erupted with anti-racism demonstrators  taking to the streets to voice fury at police brutality, leading to violent clashes.

As the demonstrations taking place entered sixth night, the Trump administration is calling the protestors “domestic terrorists,” while there were more confrontations between protestors and police and fresh outbreaks of looting.

Protestors took over the park next to the White White House while the authorities used tear gas, pepper spray and flash bang grenades to diffuse them while they lit several large fires.

Death of 46-year-old African-American man George Floyd who was arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit banknote last Monday has sparked protests  across major cities in the US.

A Minneapolis policeman accused of killing unarmed Floyd by kneeling on his neck was taken into custody on Friday and charged with third-degree murder. Three other officers with him have been fired but for now face no charges.

A video taken by a bystander shows officer officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck as he is pinned to the ground. Floyd who was unarmed and handcuffed, pleaded that he could not breathe. He was soon after declared dead at a nearby hospital last Monday.

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.

“We have black sons, black brothers, black friends, we don’t want them to die. We are tired of this happening, this generation is not having it, we are tired of oppression,” said Muna Abdi, a 31-year-old black woman who joined the protest.

“I want to make sure he stays alive,” she added in reference to her son, aged three.

Hundreds of police and National Guard troops were deployed ahead of the protest.

There were other large-scale protests in cities including New York and Miami.

There are reports of President Donald Trump being rushed by Secret Service agents into an underground bunker at the White House on Friday night during an earlier protest.

Washington’s mayor ordered a curfew from 11:00 pm until 6:00 am in view of the violent clashes.

Large-scale violence has rocked many US cities in recent days, and looters ransacked stores in a neighborhood of Philadelphia on Sunday while in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, looting was reported at a few stores.

Officials in LA imposed a curfew from 4:00 pm Sunday until dawn.

“Please, use your discretion and go early, go home, stay home and help us make sure that those who want to change this conversation from being about racial justice to be about burning things and looting things, don’t win the day,” the city’s mayor Eric Garcetti said on CNN.

Governor Tim Walz has mobilized all of Minnesota’s National Guard troops — the state guard’s biggest mobilization ever — to help restore order.

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to clear streets of curfew violators Saturday night in Minneapolis.

Walz extended a curfew for a third night Sunday and praised police and guardsmen for holding down violence. “They did so in a professional manner. They did so without a single loss of life and minimal property damage,” he said.

“Congratulations to our National Guard for the great job they did immediately upon arriving in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last night,” President Donald Trump tweeted, adding that they “should be used in other States before it is too late!”

The Department of Defense said that around 5,000 National Guard troops had been mobilized in 15 states as well as the capital Washington, with another 2,000 on standby.

The widespread resort to uniformed National Guards units is rare, and it evoked disturbing memories of the rioting in US cities in 1967 and 1968 in a turbulent time of protest over racial and economic disparities.

President Trump blamed the extreme left for the violence, saying rioters were dishonoring the memory of Floyd. He also said that he planned to designate a group known as Antifa as a terrorist organization.

“We cannot and must not allow a small group of criminals and vandals to wreck our cities and lay waste to our communities,” the president had said.

“My administration will stop mob violence. And we’ll stop it cold,” he added, accusing the loose-knit militant anti-fascist network Antifa of orchestrating the violence.

“The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly,” added Attorney General Bill Barr.

“The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly,” added Attorney General Bill Barr.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Trump, who has often urged police to use tough tactics, was not helping matters.

“We are beyond a tipping point in this country, and his rhetoric only enflames that,” she said on CBS.

Joe Biden, Trump’s likely Democratic opponent in November’s presidential election, visited the scene of one anti-racism protest.

“We are a nation in pain right now, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us,” Biden tweeted, posting a picture of him speaking with an African-American family at the site where protesters had gathered in Delaware late Saturday.

The protests have in fact reached beyond America with hundreds rallying outside the US embassy in London in solidarity.

“I’m here because I’m tired, I’m fed up with it. When does this stop?” Doreen Pierre, present at the protest. was quoted by news agency AFP as saying.

In Germany, England football international Jadon Sancho marked one of his three goals for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn by lifting his jersey to reveal a T-shirt bearing the words “Justice for George Floyd”.

Former US President Barack Obama had on Friday expressed the “anguish” of millions of Americans over the death of a black man who was killed by police in Minnesota, saying racism cannot be “normal” in the United States.

“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America,” Obama said of the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd and several other recent racial incidents in the country.

These protests are reminiscent of those that followed the 2017 death of Philando Castile, who was sitting in his car after a traffic stop in a nearby suburb when an officer shot him.

Last year, in June, a young black man was killed by US marshals in Memphis, Tennessee, whose death sparked clashes with police overnight.

Floyd’s killing was seen as the latest example of police brutality against African Americans, which gave rise six years ago to the Black Lives Matter movement.

(With inputs from AFP)