'I Can't Breathe': US Protesters Stage Fiery Clash With Police

By Updated at 2020-05-31 02:13:33 +0000

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In cities across the United States, protesters angered over the killing of George Floyd faced off against heavily-armed officers, with some smashing police cars, ransacking businesses and setting fires that smoldered through the night.

Fears of another cycle of violence were palpable on Saturday as cities from Atlanta to Minneapolis grappled with the scope of the damage, and pleas for calm from elected officials and others seemed to do little to dampen the anger.

In Minnesota, where Floyd died Monday after a police officer pressed down on his neck for more than eight minutes, Gov. Tim Walz activated more than a thousand national guardsmen early Saturday, promising a massive show of force to protect the city.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler also declared an emergency and ordered a nighttime curfew for the city. And in Washington, D.C., the guard was on standby as a crowd gathered outside the White House and chanted curses at President Donald Trump. 

In all, more than two dozen cities experienced racially diverse protests, many peaceful but some of violent. 

Many of those out on the streets spoke of frustration that Floyd’s death was one more in a litany. It came in the wake of the killing in Georgia of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot after being pursued by two white men while running in their neighborhood, and in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic that has thrown millions out of work, killed more than 100,000 people in the U.S. and disproportionately affected black people.

Trump was again under criticism for stoking the racial discord with a series of tweets Saturday belittling the protesters outside, claiming many of the Secret Service agents were “just waiting for action” and ready to unleash “the most vicious dogs, and the most ominous weapons, I have ever seen” if protesters try to breech the White House’s security fence.

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Protesters refuse to allow National Guard personnel to advance towards Hiawatha Avenue along East Lake Street, Friday, May 29, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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Donald Trump supporter Michael Rooney of Des Moines argues with protesters outside of the Des Moines Police Department during a protest on Friday, May 29, 2020, in Des Moines. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP)

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Protesters move along a highway Friday, May 29, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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A Police officer warns a protester during an arrest at a rally Friday, May 29, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Police react to protesters in Atlanta on May 29, 2020. Protesters carried signs and chanted their messages of outrage over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

A protester is arrested near Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Friday, May 29, 2020, following a rally to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

A man throws a hand truck into the window of vandalized CVS store during a protest over the death of George Floyd Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Los Angeles. Floyd died in police custody Monday in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Protesters and National Guardsmen face off on East Lake Street, Friday, May 29, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Demonstrators burn garbage in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, May 29, 2020, while protesting the Monday death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man in police custody in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

A protester rides his bike past a burning building that housed a check cashing business, Friday, May 29, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

A woman flashes the peace sign while walking backwards in a cloud of tear gas during a protest at 72nd and Dodge Streets on Friday, May 29, 2020. (Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald via AP)

Police officers and protesters clash near CNN Center, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Atlanta, in response to George Floyd's death in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Demonstrators rally in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, May 29, 2020, to protest the Monday death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man in police custody in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

A protester confronts Kansas City police during a George Floyd protest at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, May 29, 2020. (Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star via AP)

A demonstrator attacks a police car during a protest over the death of George Floyd in downtown Los Angeles, Friday, May 29, 2020. Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Police officers rush past a burning police vehicle to disperse protesters during a protest over the death of George Floyd Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Los Angeles. Floyd died in police custody Monday in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

>A man runs out of a convenience store Friday, May 29, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Marcus Lavon of Des Moines raises his hands during a protest in Des Moines, May 29, 2020. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP)

Red handprints cover a window at the Hall of Justice building in downtown Louisville, Ky., Friday, May 29, 2020. Breonna Taylor, a black woman, was fatally shot by police in her home in March. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

A Police vehicle burns after protesters rallied at Barclays Center over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died Memorial Day while in Minneapolis police custody, Friday, May 29, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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