Washington, DC prepares for ‘largest’ protest: Live updates – Al Jazeera English


  • Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, has promised to review the social network’s policies that led to its decision to not moderate controversial messages posted by the US president that appeared to encourage violence against those protesting against police racism.
  • Protests are set to continue for a 12th day over police brutality, with a North Carolina memorial service set for George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25. 
  • Washington, DC is peparing for what one police official may be the “largest gathering” ever in the US capital. Meanwhile, protesters have taken to the streets in Australia, Asia and Europe in solidarity. 
  • Several jurisdictions have been altering their use of force policies, with California’s governor ordering state police stop teaching a controversial neck restraint, Minneapolis officials ordering a ban on police choke and strangleholds, Seattle’s mayor banning police from using tear gas in protests, and a federal judge in Denver limiting police use of tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters. 

Latest updates:

Saturday, June 6

16:45 GMT – ‘Burn down racism’: World rallies against George Floyd’s death

Taking a knee, banging drums and ignoring social distancing measures, outraged protesters from Sydney to London kicked off global rallies against racism and police brutality on Saturday.

The death at police hands of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in the US state of Minnesota, has brought tens of thousands out onto the streets during a pandemic that is ebbing in Asia and Europe but still spreading in other parts of the world.

Read more here.

Protest against police brutality and the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Frankfurt

Demonstrators attend a protest against police brutality and the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Frankfurt, Germany June 6, 2020. [Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters]

16:00 GMT – Buffalo, NY police officers charged with felony assault plead not guilty

Two Buffalo police officers were arraigned on felony assault charges on Saturday after a viral video now viewed by more than 78 million people showed them shoving an elderly protestor who fell at a march against racism.

Officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe were part of a unit in tactical gear enforcing an 8 p.m. curfew on Thursday when Martin Gugino, 75, was shoved, fell and struck his head on the sidewalk, the Buffalo News reported.

Both pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault during the virtual arraignment before Buffalo City Court Judge Craig D. Hannah, the Buffalo News reported.

Members of the Buffalo Police Department’s Emergency Response Team, the officers have been suspended without pay and are being investigated after a local radio station released video of the incident involving Gugino, a longtime activist who has advocated for affordable housing, climate justice and police accountability. He reportedly remains in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU).

15:00 GMT – Protesters gather in Paris despite ban

Demonstrators in Paris have tried to gather in front of the US Embassy, defying restrictions on planned gatherings imposed by authorities in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

They were met by riot police. The embassy was sealed off behind an imposing ring of metal barriers and road blocks, but many protesters gathered nearby. 

“You can fine me 10,000 or 20,000 times, the revolt will happen anyway,” Egountchi Behanzin, a founder of the Black African Defense League, told officers who stopped him to check his ID documents before he got close to the diplomatic building, according to the Associated Press news agency. 

Protesters gathered across Europe on Saturday, including in cities in Germany and Italy.  paris protestsDemonstrators in Paris tried to gather in front of the US Embassy , defying restrictions imposed by authorities because of the coronavirus pandemic [AFP]

14:40 GMT – More protests planned in NYC

After another mostly peaceful night, more demonstrations over the death of George Floyd in New York City were planned for Saturday amid lingering tension between protesters and police over the city’s 8 PM curfew.

On Friday night, demonstrators again remained on city streets hours after the curfew. With police generally allowing some leeway, crowds mostly dwindled on their own at various locations.

But there were some minor flare-ups: About an hour after a Brooklyn protest ended, images on social media showed officers surrounding a group of protesters and chasing down some with batons.

Demonstrators protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in New York City

Protests in NYC on Friday night remained mostly peaceful, with a few scattered clashes [Jeenah Moon/Reuters]

14:10 GMT – Washington, DC readies for possible ‘largest’ protest ever in the capital

Protesters are expected to gather in Washington for a huge demonstration on Saturday, its police chief said.

Some activists on social media have called for a million people to attend the protest in the US capital.

“We have a lot of public, open source information to suggest that the event on this upcoming Saturday may be one of the largest we’ve ever had in the city,” Washington DC Police Chief Peter Newsham told local media, adding that much of the city center would be closed to traffic from early in the day.

Newsham did not give a crowd estimate. Local media has predicted tens of thousands of attendees.

13:30 GMT – Thousands protest in central London

Thousands of demonstrators protested in rainy central London against police violence and racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd.

Gathering in Parliament Square, a traditional venue for protests, the demonstrators “took the knee” in silence and then chanted Floyd’s name before applauding his memory.

The demonstrators have ignored advice from the government and police to avoid attending because of the coronavirus. In England, gatherings are limited to groups of six, provided people observe the social distancing guidelines to remain 2 meters (6.5 feet) apart.

Many held banners aloft, including one that read “Racism is a Pandemic.” Demonstrations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement were  taking place in Manchester, Cardiff in Wales and other UK cities.

London black lives matter protest

Demonstrators hold placards during a Black Lives Matter rally in Parliament Square in London [Alberto Pezzali/The Associated Press]

12:05 GMT – Tokyo protesters condemn killing of George Floyd

Protesters gathered in Tokyo on Saturday, as global demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd spread to Japan, a nation not usually associated with mass discontent or police violence.

In front of Shibuya train station, an iconic landmark in Tokyo, people held signs that said, “End racism,” and “We stand with you”.

Although the turnout was a fraction of the thousands in American and European cities, the effort was symbolically significant for a nation, where conformity is valued and challenging authority is relatively rare.

09:30 GMT – LA Galaxy drop Aleksandar Katai after wife’s ‘racist and violent’ Instagram posts

Serbian footballer Aleksandar Katai has been released by LA Galaxy after his wife posted “racist and violent” messages on social media.

The Galaxy announced their decision to “mutually part ways” with their new winger on Friday in a one-sentence news release.

Tea Katai made the posts on her Instagram story earlier this week. The posts included a photo with a caption written in Serbian urging police to “kill” protesters, another referring to protesters as “disgusting cattle,” and a third sharing a racist meme.

The Galaxy met with Aleksandar Katai on Thursday. He disavowed his wife’s posts late Wednesday night, saying the “views are not ones that I share and are not tolerated in my family”. 

Galaxy fans have been calling for his dismissal. On Thursday, a handful of fans gathered by the David Beckham statue outside the club’s stadium holding a banner reading “No Racists in Our Club”.

08:50 GMT – ‘We were wrong’: NFL’s Goodell regrets stance on player protests

Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the United States’s National Football League (NFL), has said the league made mistakes in not listening to players, in a video denouncing racism in the country amid widespread protests over police brutality against Black people.

“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” Goodell said in the video published on Friday.

“We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

Read more here.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Exavier Pope, a Chicago-based lawyer, described Goodell’s move as a “hollow” and “PR” move [File: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP]

10:20 GMT – Thousands attend Black Lives Matter protests in Melbourne, Adelaide

Thousands of demonstrators held mostly peaceful protests across Australia Saturday to honour the memory of George Floyd and to protest the deaths of indigenous Australians in custody. 

Black Lives Matter protesters poured into downtown Melbourne amid a strong police presence, with aerial footage showing the true scale of the march.

Australians Rally In Solidarity With U.S. Black Lives Matter  Marches Over Indigenous Australians make up two percent of the adult population but 27 percent of the prison population [Lisa Maree Williams/Getty]

In Adelaide, crowds filled the city’s Victoria Square after police gave special permission for the event to proceed despite COVID-19 restrictions. 

The march through the city was held after the police commissioner approved the rally on Friday.

South Australia Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Harvey said he was “very pleased” with how the “exceptionally good behaviour by everyone who was here today”.

08:00 GMT – 30,000 attend Brisbane rally

Organisers of Australia’s Black Lives Matter rallies said about 30,000 people gathered in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, forcing police to close down two major streets. 

The rally appeared orderly as police handed out masks to protesters and other officials provided hand sanitisers.

A Maori group did a traditional haka, or war dance, during the Brisbane protest. The large crowd later marched to a local police precinct, some chanting: “They say justice, we say murder.”

07:20 GMT – Jordan to donate $100m to fight for racial equality

Former superstar Michael Jordan and his Nike-backed Jordan Brand are pledging to donate $100m over the next 10 years to support racial equality and social justice.

The vow comes five days after Jordan said “we have had enough” when it comes to the racism that people of colour faced in the United States.

“Black lives matter. This isn’t a controversial statement,” read the joint statement from Jordan and his company on Friday. “Until the ingrained racism that allows our country’s institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of Black people.”

Part of the initiative involves creating greater access to education.

“Through our Jordan Wings program, we have been focused on providing access to education, mentorship and opportunity for Black youth facing the obstacles of systemic racism. But we know we can do more,” Jordan Brand president Craig Williams said in a statement. 

05:33 GMT – Zuckerberg promises Facebook policy review  

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, promised to review the social network’s policies that led to its decision to not moderate controversial messages posted by the US president that appeared to encourage violence against those protesting against police racism.

In a letter to employees, Zuckerberg wrote: “We’re going to review our policies allowing discussion and threats of state use of force to see if there are any amendments we should adopt.”

This, he said, includes “excessive use of police or state force. Given the sensitive history in the US, this deserves special consideration.”

04:55 GMT – Denver police ordered to stop using tear gas, plastic bullets

A US District Court Judge ordered Denver police to stop using tear gas, plastic bullets and other “less-than-lethal” force such as flash grenades against protesters in the city.

The temporary injunction is in response to a local lawsuit filed by protesters complaining about excessive force used by officers during public demonstrations following Floyd’s death.

“The Denver Police Department has failed in its duty to police its own,” Judge R Brooke Jackson wrote in the ruling.

“The Court has reviewed video evidence of numerous incidents in which officers used pepper spray on individual demonstrators who appeared to be standing peacefully, some of whom were speaking to or yelling at the officers, none of whom appeared to be engaging in violence or destructive behavior,” Jackson wrote.

04:20 GMT – Black Lives Matter rallies start in Australia amid court ban

The first of several Black Lives Matter protests across Australia got underway in Adelaide as a court in Sydney banned a planned rally in the city citing the risk of coronavirus transmissions.

Huge crowds were seen in the first gathering in the southern city of Adelaide, which was held to honour George Floyd and to protest against the deaths of Indigenous Australians in custody.

That was the plan in Sydney as well, where thousands of people were expected to rally. But New South Wales state Supreme Court Justice Des Fagan ruled on Friday that the rally was not an authorised public assembly. Fagan said he understood the rally was designed to coincide with similar events in other countries.

“I don’t diminish the importance of the issues and no one would deny them in normal circumstances,” he said. “No one denies them that but we’re talking about a situation of a health crisis.”

01:30 GMT – Minneapolis no longer under curfew

Residents of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota were no longer under a curfew on Friday night and the state is planning to start sending state troopers and US National Guard members back home.

Governor Tim Walz credited peaceful protests for helping achieve rapid change in Minneapolis Police Department policy. On Friday, the city agreed to ban chokeholds and neck restraints as a civil rights investigation of the department begins.

01:05 GMT – Seattle bans police use of tear gas on protesters

Seattle’s mayor has banned the police use of tear gas as protests continue over the killing of George Floyd.

Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a news conference on Friday that the ban would last for 30 days.

The move came hours after three civilian police watchdog groups urged city leaders to ban the use of tear gas to control demonstrators. The groups said the move would build public trust and should remain in place until the department adopts policies and training for use of the chemical agent.

00:55 GMT – California governor orders state police to stop teaching carotid holds

California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered the state police training programme to stop teaching officers how to use a hold that can block the flow of blood to the brain.

Newsom, a Democrat, took the action after two weeks of protests across the country prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Floyd died on May 25 after a police officer put his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Since then, some police departments have moved to end the use of carotid holds that stop or slow the flow of blood to the brain. Newsom said that hold has no place in the 21st century.

00:53 GMT – Health expert: Tear gassing protesters may increase risk of coronavirus spread

An Emory University infectious disease specialist says he has serious concerns that police could be spreading the coronavirus by spraying tear gas on demonstrators.

Mass arrests and confining people in small spaces dramatically increase the risk of infecting others with the coronavirus, Dr Jay Varkey said on Friday.

St. John''s Church

Protestors are tear gassed as the police disperse them near the White House in Washington, DC [Roberto Schmidt/AFP]

Tear gas and other chemical agents causes people to rub their eyes, putting demonstrators at risk of being infected, Varkey said.

“When I see the wide use of things like tear gas or pepper bombs that by its nature cause people to immediately rub their eyes, that causes me tremendous consternation in terms of the risk of what that could cause in terms of infection transmission during a pandemic,” Varkey said.

“From a public health standpoint, I don’t know whether law enforcement is actively looking at agents other than tear gas or pepper bombs,” he said. “As a physician, do I think they should? Yes, absolutely.”

00:50 GMT – Ramaphosa notes ‘naked racism in the US’

South Africa’s president is noting the “naked racism in the United States” and says he firmly believes “this is a moment we should regard as a turning point with regard to tackling racism around the world”.

Cyril Ramaphosa spoke as the ruling African National Congress launched a Black Friday event in response to the “heinous murder” of George Floyd and “institutionalised racism” in the US, at home and “wherever it rears its ugly head”.

Ramaphosa said human dignity is a universal aspiration and respect for it is “the only guarantee of any nation’s prosperity”. He pointed out that South Africa’s enduring racial inequality a quarter-century after the end of the racist system of apartheid, and he expressed his “deepest regret” at the death of nearly a dozen South Africans allegedly at the hands of security forces during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown.

While he said the deaths “do not have the obvious racial dimensions of the murder of George Floyd, they do rely on a similar contempt for the intrinsic human worth of the victim” and must be condemned “just as vehemently”. The cases are under investigation.

00:25 GMT – Hundreds rally outside US embassy in Cyprus

About 250 people demonstrated peacefully outside the United States embassy in the Cypriot capital, Nicosia. to denounce what they said were the “social and racial inequalities” at the root of protests triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer.

Demonstrators wore masks and kept several feet apart in line with social-distancing rules. They held placards reading, “We say no to racism, solidarity is our weapon,” and chanted slogans including “Power to the people, united we breathe”.

Police observed Friday’s hour-long protest from a distance as demonstrators knelt and held out clenched fists in a show of solidarity with protesters in the US.

The protest was organized by EDON, the youth wing of Cyprus’s communist-rooted party, AKEL. EDON Central Committee member Christoforos Pittara decried what he called the endemic racial inequality that still plagues the US, and criticised US President Donald Trump for resorting to racist rhetoric.

Pittara said justice for George Floyd is not enough and must be served for a “chain of murders” whose victims were not only African Americans, but the poor and dispossessed irrespective of race, creed or colour.

00:15 GMT – Mayor in Washington State city calls for firing of officers involved in deadly shooting

The mayor of Tacoma, Washington has told the city manager to fire four police officers following the death of a Black man after police restrained him in March.

Mayor Victoria Woodards on Thursday night directed City Manager Elizabeth Pauli to fire the officers involved in the restraint of 33-year-old Manuel Ellis.

Her order comes as the country has been roiled by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Four Minneapolis officers have been criminally charged. Woodards said the Tacoma officers should also be prosecuted over the death of Ellis.

“The officers who committed this crime should be fired and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Woodards said in a statement aired live on Tacoma television and Facebook. “I am demanding tonight that the Pierce County Sheriff review and confirm every action taken by each officer.”

The News Tribune reports the Pierce County medical examiner’s office ruled Ellis’s March 3 death a homicide caused by a lack of oxygen due to physical restraint. The newspaper reports methamphetamine intoxication and heart disease were contributing factors.

Authorities have said Ellis appeared to be suffering from some sort of breakdown when they approached him. They said he attacked officers who were trying to calm him down.

Friday, June 5

23:30 GMT – National Football League: We were wrong about taking a knee

The National Football League (NFL) on Friday reversed its long-standing antagonism towards the practice of taking a knee to protest over police injustice against Black Americans, championed by ostracised player Colin Kaepernick, saying it was wrong not to listen to NFL players on the subject as it encouraged people to protest peacefully.

In a video statement tweeted by the US league, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “We, the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People … We, the National Football League believe Black lives matter.”

Politicians, team owners and fellow players previously criticised Kaepernick and fans burned his jersey for taking a knee during the national anthem to protest violence against Black Americans. Now, in the wake of the George Floyd protests, global opinion has shifted so much that more people are now vilifying those who attack Kaepernick or misrepresent his stance.

New Orleans Saints star quarterback Drew Brees issued a public apology on Thursday after he was excoriated by teammates, other athletes and fans for saying he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States”.

Even US President Donald Trump echoed the earlier criticism on Friday, saying on Twitter that Brees should not have taken back his original stance.

Trump posted his tweet not long after several members of the Jacksonsville Jaguars marched from their stadium to the steps of the local sheriff’s department in Florida to protest against the Floyd killing.

“Today we say no more,” wide receiver Chris Conley said. “Today we see a nation that can’t await change, a city that won’t sit still or be quiet.”

The march included Joshua Dobbs, Brandon Linder and Josh Lambo of the Jaguars along with family members. Coach Doug Marrone, general manager Dave Caldwell and assistant coach Terry Robiskie also walked in what the team called an attempt to “raise awareness for racial injustices against the Black community,” with many wearing “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts.

22:28: Biden lashes out at Trump for invoking Floyd name while crowing about positive unemployment data

In a speech in Delaware on Friday, US presidential candidate Joe Biden sharply criticised US President Donald Trump for invoking George Floyd’s name during a news conference about a positive jobs report released that morning.

At the news conference, Trump suggested that Floyd might have appreciated the recent protests and the debates they have sparked as being a “great day for him”.

Biden called the comments “despicable”.

“For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd, I frankly think it’s despicable,” he said. “And the fact that he did so on the day when black unemployment rose, Hispanic unemployment rose, black youth unemployment skyrocketed, tells you everything you need to know about this man and what he really cares about.”

22:07 – Video documents attacks on journalists during Floyd protests

Hundreds of journalists from across the globe have gotten caught in the crossfire between protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd and law enforcement officials attempting to rein them in. Some have been deliberately targeted by those law enforcement officials, as a video compilation by the Committee to Protect Journalists demonstrates. Since the protests began on May 26, more than 250 abridgments of press freedom have been reported across the US by journalists covering the demonstrations, according to the CPJ.

21:52 GMT – ‘Stand up to Trump’ Canadians tell Trudeau

Canadian protesters chanted “Stand up to Trump!” to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he joined thousands at an anti-racism rally on Friday and took a knee alongside protesters.

Trudeau, wearing a black mask and surrounded by bodyguards, made a surprise appearance at the “No justice = No peace” rally in front of Parliament. His appearance came a day after police shot and killed an Indigenous woman during a wellness check in eastern Canada.

Trudeau three times took a knee alongside other protesters, a gesture used to protest against police brutality and the treatment of African Americans by police. Afterwards, several people thanked Trudeau for kneeling.

Trudeau did not speak at the rally on Friday and left as the protesters began a march to the US Embassy, near the Parliament building.

Canada PM Justin Trudeau protest

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wears a mask as he takes a knee during a rally on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario to protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd [Blair Gable/Reuters]

20:28 GMT – Facebook says no sign of foreign targeting of Floyd protests

Facebook Inc said on Friday that it had seen no evidence of coordinated foreign interference on its platforms targeting anti-racism protests in the United States, despite assertions from the US attorney general that foreign groups were trying to exacerbate the situation.

“We have been actively looking and we haven’t yet seen foreign interference or domestic coordinated inauthentic behaviour targeting these protests,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, in a call with reporters.

“We want to caution people against jumping to conclusions without clear evidence of foreign interference,” Gleicher said.

US Attorney General William Barr said on Thursday that foreign groups were using disinformation campaigns like those mounted by Russia during the 2016 presidential election to widen divisions in US society.

“Some of the foreign hackers and groups that are associated with foreign governments are focusing in on this particular situation we have here and trying to exacerbate it in every way they can,” Barr said.

19:05 GMT – US Park Police admit ‘mistake’ in saying tear gas wasn’t used on peaceful protesters

United States Park Police (USPP) spokesperson Sergeant Eduardo Delgado admitted on Friday that it was a “mistake” to deny that tear gas was used to disperse peaceful protesters ahead of a controversial photo opportunity for President Donald Trump in front of a Washington, DC church.

Media reports challenged a Tuesday statement from the Park Police that said tear gas was not used to “secure” the area in downtown DC where Trump took a photo in front of a church that was damaged during protests against police brutality. 

The statement said smoke bombs and pepper spray projectiles were used, but did not consider these to be tear gas. 

“I’m not saying it’s not a tear gas, but I’m just saying we use a pepper ball that shoots a powder”, Delgado  said in an interview with Vox. 

“The point is we admitted to using what we used,” Delgado said. “I think the term ‘tear gas’ doesn’t even matter anymore. It was a mistake on our part for using ‘tear gas’ because we just assumed people would think CS or CN”. 

CS and CN are two common types of tear gas, Vox reported. 

Delgado said the USPP statement was correct in relation to the conduct of the park police. 

17:57 GMT – Remaining National Guard troops in DC to return to home base: reports 

The Pentagon will be sending back the remaining 900 active-duty troops who were sent to the Washington, DC area to potentially respond to civil unrest, and they are expected to start heading back to their home bases, a US official told Reuters news agency.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the order had been signed by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and that the troops would be heading back to Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York.

The report came after Utah Senator Mike Lee tweeted that DC Mayor Muriel Bowser was ‘kicking’ National Guard troops out of hotels in the US capital. 

17:30 GMT – Minneapolis to ban chokeholds by police

Negotiators for the city of Minneapolis have agreed with the state to ban the use of chokeholds by police, and to require police to report and intervene any time they see an unauthorised use of force by another officer.

The moves are part of a stipulation between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which launched a civil rights investigation this week in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody. The City Council is expected to approve the agreement Friday.

The agreement, which will be enforceable in court, would require any officers, regardless of tenure or rank, to immediately report the use of any neck restraint or chokehold from the scene to their commander or their commander’s superiors.

Similarly, any officer who sees another officer commit any unauthorised use of force, including any chokehold or neck restraint, must try to intervene verbally and even physically. If they do not, they will be subject to discipline as severe as if they themselves had used the prohibited force.

The agreement also requires authorisation from the police chief or a designated deputy chief to use crowd control weapons, including chemical agents, rubber bullets, flash-bangs, batons, and marking rounds. And it requires more timely decisions on disciplining officers.

17:00 GMT – Outrage in Canada after police killing of Indigenous woman

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in Canada has called for an independent investigation into the fatal police shooting of Chantel Moore.

Moore, 26, was reportedly killed as police carried out a wellness check in northwestern New Brunswick.

Police say Moore ran out of her home with a knife and threatened the officer who shot her.

According to Canadian media, an ex-boyfriend of Moore called police to do a wellness check on the 26-year-old. He was reportedly concerned because she had been harassed, including by receiving “strange” messages on Facebook.

Quebec’s independent police watchdog group has sent several investigators to the area to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

“The family and community of Chantal need answers as to why she was shot on a health check by the police,” the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council said. “Justice must not wait and every power must be exerted to ensure that justice is served in an appropriate immediate, and respectful way.”

16:30 GMT – Officers suspended after man, 75, is shoved to ground; man remains in serious condition

Two police officers in Buffalo, New York have been suspended after pushing a 75-year-old man who then fell down and cracked his head.

The video from WFBO of Thursday night’s encounter, which happened near the conclusion of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, quickly sparked outrage.

It showed an officer pushing a man who approached a line of officers clearing demonstrators from Niagara Square around the time of an 8pm curfew. The man falls backward and hits his head on the pavement. Blood leaks out as officers walk past.

The mayor, Byron Brown, said in a statement that the man, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was in serious condition. A hospital official said he was “alert and oriented”, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted Friday morning.

The district attorney’s office “continues to investigate the incident”, officials said in a news release.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed the suspensions, tweeting that what was seen on video was “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful”.

16:25 GMT – Witness: Floyd didn’t resist arrest, tried to defuse things

A man who was with George Floyd on the night he died said his friend did not resist arrest and instead tried to defuse the situation before he ended up handcuffed on the ground and pleading for air as an officer pressed a knee against his neck.

Maurice Lester Hall, a longtime friend of Floyd, was a passenger in Floyd’s car when police approached him May 25 as they responded to a call about someone using a forged bill at a shop. Hall told The New York Times that Floyd was trying to show he was not resisting.

“I could hear him pleading, ‘Please, officer, what’s all this for?'” Hall told the newspaper.

Hall is a key witness in the state’s investigation into the four officers who apprehended Floyd. Derek Chauvin, the white officer who continued pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck even after Floyd became motionless, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers are charged with aiding and abetting. All four officers were fired.

15:50 GMT – DC mayor renames street near White House ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza’ 

Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, DC, has renamed a section of a street near the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza”.  

The move comes just days after peaceful protesters were forcefully cleared to make space for a Trump photo op. Rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, have sued Trump and several officials with his administration over the incident. 

15:45 GMT – Trump slammed for ‘this is great day’ for George Floyd remarks

President Donald Trump is facing further criticism after making remarks about George Floyd during his news conference on job gains in the US. 

“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country. This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody”, Trump said.

The remarks drew immediate ire from observers and journalists present, who questioned how Floyd would enjoy unemployment numbers after being killed.

Trump finished his news conference without taking questions, a move that observers have also criticised.

US unemployment figures dropped to slightly over 13 percent, new figures from May show.

Trump attributed these figures to his administration’s response to the coronavirus, including pushing states to reopen their economies.

The US has nearly 1.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases. There have been over 108,000 US deaths since the pandemic began spreading in March.

14:50 GMT – Minnesota eyes changes for how police killings are handled

Minnesota’s county attorneys want to give the state attorney general the authority to handle all cases of police-involved deaths.

The Minnesota County Attorneys Association voted Thursday in transferring that power during an emergency meeting, which included Attorney General Keith Ellison. The attorney general is leading the state’s case against the four police officers involved in George Floyd’s death instead of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

State lawmakers would need to pass legislation during this month’s special session to give the attorney general the ongoing authority.

Protest against the death in police custody of George Floyd, in Washington

A person holds a placard as demonstrators gather at the Lincoln Memorial during a protest against the death of George Floyd in Washington, DC [Erin Scott/Reuters] 

The county attorneys are also calling on the legislature to provide additional funding to the state attorney general’s office and create a unit within Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate police killings of civilians.

“If this is the path the legislature and governor choose to take, my office will accept the responsibility,” Ellison said. “But it must come with resources sufficient to do the job thoroughly and to do justice in the way Minnesotans have a right to expect.”

Ellison is one of 18 Democratic attorneys general who are asking Congress to grant their offices “clear statutory authority under federal law” to investigate “unconstitutional policing by local police departments” in their respective states, the Star Tribune reported.

14:48 GMT – Large letters spelling out ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted on busy DC street 

Parts of a major Washington, DC street were blocked off so that large, yellow letters that spell out “Black Lives Matter” could be painted on the road. 

14:40 – Minneapolis City Council prepares to vote on changes to police department

The Minneapolis City Council is preparing to vote on changes to the city’s police department in response to the death of George Floyd.

City leaders and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights are working out an agreement for a temporary restraining order to force some immediate changes and set a timeline for the state’s civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.

The council meets Friday afternoon. If the council approves the agreement, the order would require court approval.

The state human rights department opened a civil rights investigation into allegations of racial discrimination by the police department on Tuesday. The investigation into policies, procedures and practices seeks to determine if the force has engaged in systematic discriminatory practices toward people of colour and to ensure that any such practices are stopped.

14:30 – Slave action block removed in Virginia city’s downtown

A 176-year-old slave auction block has been removed from a Virginia city’s downtown and will be displayed in a museum.

The 800-pound stone was pulled from the ground at a Fredericksburg street corner early Friday after its removal was delayed for months by lawsuits and the coronavirus pandemic, The Free Lance-Star reported.

The weathered stone was sprayed with graffiti twice and chants of “move the block” erupted this week during local demonstrations over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, city officials said in a statement announcing the removal.

A local chapter of the NAACP called for the stone’s removal in 2017, saying it was a relic of “a time of hatred and degradation”.

In 2019, the City Council voted for the block’s removal and relocation to the Fredericksburg Area Museum. A judge upheld that decision in February after two businesses near the auction block sued to stop the relocation.

The museum plans to display the knee-high stone in an exhibit chronicling the “movement from slavery to accomplishments by the local African American community.”

14:25 GMT – EU express concerns about policing in US

European Union lawmakers are expressing concern about United States police action linked to the death of George Floyd.

The incidents were debated by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights as the protest movement since Floyd’s death gathered pace in Europe and around the world.

Finnish Greens lawmaker Heidi Hautala says “the police should not be there to shoot when some loot. The police should be there to protect, and it is clear that widespread reforms in the law enforcement in the United States are needed.”

Participants in a rally against the violent death of African-American George Floyd by a white policeman hold a poster in front of the US Embassy with the words

Participants in a rally against the US police killing of George Floyd in Berlin, Germany [Christoph Soeder/DPA/AP Photo] 

Irish EU lawmaker Sean Kelly says some of the problem is due to a failure of leadership. He says what happened in the US is “chilling in the extreme. I think it indicates what can happen when you have poor leadership.”

“Leaders can either divide or unite,” said Kelly. “Good unite. Bad divide. That’s what we see unfortunately in America at the moment.”

Swedish liberal parliamentarian Karin Karlsbro said, “America has a long and tragic history on police brutality. At the heart of this lies racism and segregation based on history. This is a systematic problem that needs to be addressed at all levels in the US.”

14:20 GMT – Another Confederate statue comes down

The city of Mobile, Alabama, removed a Confederate statue early Friday.

The bronze figure of Admiral Raphael Semmes had become a flashpoint for protests. It was removed from its pedestal after being vandalised this week and before demonstrations announced for Sunday calling for it to be taken down.

The removal of the 120-year-old figure follows days of protests in Alabama and across the nation over killings by police of African-Americans.

Semmes was a Confederate commerce raider, sinking Union-allied ships during the Civil War. He later became a “Lost Cause” hero to Southerners who lamented the end of the Confederacy.

The city of Semmes, Alabama, outside Mobile, was incorporated in 2010 and named for him.

14:00 GMT – Alabama police investigating cross burning

Police are investigating a cross burning on a bridge in Macon County, Alabama.

Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson says the burning cross was seen on top of a bridge over highway Interstate 85 on Thursday night. Brunson says deputies arrived and helped extinguish the fire.

John Bolton, a motorist who called 911, told WRBL-TV there was a cross, burning tyre and fuel canister.

The sheriff says there are no suspects so far.

13:55 GMT – Twitter blocks Trump campaign video tribute to Floyd

Twitter has blocked a Trump campaign video tribute to George Floyd over a copyright claim, in a move that adds to tensions between the social media platform and the United States president, one of its most widely followed users.

The company put a label on a video posted by the @TeamTrump account that said, “This media has been disabled in response to a claim by the copyright owner.” The video was still up on President Donald Trump’s YouTube channel and includes pictures of Floyd, whose death sparked widespread protests, at the start.

“Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” Twitter said in a statement.

The three-minute and 45-second clip is a montage of photos and videos of peaceful marches and police officers hugging protesters interspersed with some scenes of burning buildings and vandalism, set to gentle piano music and Trump speaking.

It’s the latest action that Twitter has taken against Trump, who has threatened to retaliate against social media companies.

____________________________________________________________________

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the protests in the US over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Here are a few things to catch up on:

  • George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard on a bystander video repeatedly pleading with officers, saying: “I can’t breathe.” He eventually lies motionless with the officer’s knee still on his neck. You can read about the deadly incident here.
  • The four officers involved in the incident were fired, and all have been charged. 
  • Protests – some violent – have since erupted nationwide as demonstrators rally for justice for Floyd and all unarmed Black people killed by police.

See the updates from Thursday’s protests here.





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