President Donald Trump has threatened the “unlimited power of the military” as angry protests erupted across America following the death of George Floyd.
Hundreds of people have been arrested in places like Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston as outrage flared up in at least 30 US cities.
And in Seattle, the latest metropolis to erupt, rioters looted and torched the Nordstrom department store.
Major chaos in Seattle right now, fires and fights in the street. The Nordstrom department store has been set ablaze. pic.twitter.com/CAl7kdiDEj
— George Floyd Protest Updates (@LaraHReid) May 31, 2020
Several cities throughout the Los Angeles area declared 8pm curfews on Saturday, including Pasadena, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
Some 700 National Guard troops were expected to be called in to help restore order, as looting took place in the Fairfax area and in downtown LA.
An Adidas store on Melrose Avenue was looted, and a band of people had been making their way along the famous LA shopping street home to boutiques and specialty stores breaking storefront windows.
Remarkable scenes in the Fairfax District of #LosAngeles, which bore the brunt of the #GeorgeFloyd unrest on Saturday afternoon. It appears that looting is still occurring in the Melrose district almost two hours after curfew. pic.twitter.com/f8YJ7rk72L
— Shahab (@SSMoghadam) May 31, 2020
At least three people were reported shot and one dead amid protests in downtown Indianapolis, police chief Randal Taylor said.
The full Minnesota National Guard has been activated for the first time since World War II after four nights of sometimes violent protests in Minneapolis, the city from where the unrest has sprung.
With anger on the streets and fires burning, Mr Trump took to Twitter to blame “Liberal governors” in affected states for not being tough enough against public disorder.
The president also slammed the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, and accused him of defending his state “poorly”.
“Liberal Governors and Mayors must get MUCH tougher or the Federal Government will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests,” Mr Trump tweeted.
Crossing State lines to incite violence is a FEDERAL CRIME! Liberal Governors and Mayors must get MUCH tougher or the Federal Government will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2020
The president also tweeted: “Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis will never be mistaken for the late, great General Douglas McArthur or great fighter General George Patton.
“How come all of these places that defend so poorly are run by Liberal Democrats? Get tough and fight (and arrest the bad ones). STRENGTH!”
He later called for calm while addressing the “pain” and “anguish” caused by the “anarchy”, during a speech after the successful launch of the SpaceX rocket.
Mr Trump is leading a nation in turmoil, with protests gripping the country from coast to coast, with many cities witnessing uprisings not seen since the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968.
As well as the original anger in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, public outrage is burning New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Houston, Portland, Dallas, Memphis, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Atlanta, Louisville, Kansas City, Detroit, Columbus, San Jose and Boston.
In smaller towns, the same anger continues to fill the streets with demands for justice.
The unrest was sparked by the death of unarmed African American George Floyd who was filmed gasping and pleading ‘I can’t breathe’ as police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck.
This is sickening: pic.twitter.com/PNrrJQWTF1
— claudia irizarry aponte (@clauirizarry) May 31, 2020
Chauvin has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, while his wife has also filed for divorce.
“This evening, I spoke with Kellie Chauvin and her family. She is devastated by Mr. Floyd’s death and her utmost sympathy lies with his family, with his loved ones and with everyone who is grieving this tragedy,” the Sekula Law Office said in a statement Friday night.
“She has filed for dissolution of her marriage to Derek Chauvin.
“While Ms. Chauvin has no children from her current marriage, she respectfully requests that her children, her elder parents, and her extended family be given safety and privacy during this difficult time.”
The three other officers involved in the arrest are also being investigated.
Peaceful protests and riots
In Houston, more than 200 people were arrested following Friday night’s protests, with Houston Police tweeting that most will be charged with obstructing a roadway. Meanwhile, police said four officers suffered minor injuries and eight police vehicles were damaged.
Phoenix also saw protests spark extensive vandalism. According to a tweet by Phoenix Police, some demonstrators broke windows and doors to municipal and private businesses, and also “destroyed” parked cars.
In Portland, Oregon, police declared a riot following several shootings and fires – including one at Portland’s Justice Center – and asked those downtown to leave the area. According to a tweet by police, two arrests have since been made.
Elsewhere, in Detroit, a 19-year-old man was killed after shots were fired into a crowd of protesters late on Friday. Police haven’t yet confirmed whether the victim, who died of his injuries in hospital, was part of the protests.
In Ohio, the state’s legislature was overrun, while in Washington protesters who who tussled with police and Secret service outside the White House prompted yet another inflammatory tweet from Donald Trump.
The professionally managed so-called “protesters” at the White House had little to do with the memory of George Floyd. They were just there to cause trouble. The @SecretService handled them easily. Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2020
In New York a rolling series of protests saw police accused of unleashing a violent assault on protesters gathered in Union Square, the city’s traditional site for protests.
Horrific scenes in Moscow* as police beat protestors with batons. European governments, especially the British you'd imagine, will be sure to call out the Russians & propose sanctions for this sort of human rights abuse.
*only kidding, it’s New Yorkpic.twitter.com/J96UmYT49s
— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) May 30, 2020