The rage against racism and police brutality continued late Tuesday through Wednesday in the United States despite looting, clashes with police, and the martial tone of Donald Trump determined to restore order using the army if necessary.
Nine days after the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man asphyxiated by a white police officer, the wave of historic protest is not appeasing.
Protesters in New York or Los Angeles flouted curfews until late at night, with less looting and violence reported than the previous nights.
At least 60,000 people have previously paid peaceful tribute to the victim in Houston, Texas, where George Floyd grew up and will be buried next week. “We want them to know that George did not die in vain,” said mayor Sylvester Turner.
In New York, after looting on Monday, the night curfew was brought in at 8:00 p.m. and extended until Sunday.
Over the past hour, hundreds of protesters, black and white, have continued to protest peacefully, chanting “George Floyd, George Floyd” or “Black Lives Matter! “(” Black lives matter “). Tazhiana Gordon, a 29-year-old black nurse, said the curfew “is a tool to prevent people from demonstrating rather than arresting people who commit crimes.”
“A very calm situation,” tweeted Mayor Bill de Blasio in the evening, “so far, the curfew is certainly helpful, based on what I’ve seen in Brooklyn and Manhattan in the past three hours.” .
In Minneapolis (Minnesota), calm reigned. “I want him to be done justice because he was good, no matter what people think, he was a good person,” said tears Roxie Washington, mother of George Floyd’s daughter, aged six years old.
Minnesota announced one of the first concrete initiatives in response to demands from protesters, with the launch of an investigation into the Minneapolis police. The investigation will examine possible “systemic discriminatory practices” over the past ten years, Governor Tim Walz tweeted.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti posed with the police a knee on the ground, a symbol since 2016 of the denunciation of police violence against African-Americans.
Protesters gathered in the evening outside his home and some 200 people were arrested after refusing to disperse, the AFP said.
In Washington, several thousand people, including Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, demonstrated peacefully until well after the 7:00 p.m. curfew. Televisions showed tear gas being fired by police after midnight, but the situation seemed overall calm.
An 18-year-old protester, Jada Wallace, said, “I am tired of being afraid of the police and not getting justice.”
Police near the White House on Monday dispersed many protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets to allow President Donald Trump to walk to an iconic degraded church the day before. A gesture denounced by Protestant and Catholic leaders as a “morally repugnant” communication coup.
In the past week, unrest has spread to more than a hundred American cities, with thousands of arrests and several deaths. Donald Trump paid tribute Tuesday night to a former police officer killed on a looting scene in St. Louis, Missouri.
On Monday evening, the president announced the deployment of “thousands of heavily armed soldiers” and police to Washington to end “the riots” and “the looting”. He also called on the governors to “dominate the streets”, otherwise threatening to send the army.
Joe Biden, Democratic presidential candidate of November 3, accused him on Tuesday of having “transformed this country into a battlefield plagued by old grudges and new fears”, promising to “heal the racial wounds that are bruising our country for so long. “
“The sin of racism”
Pope Francis ruled Wednesday any form of racism “intolerable”, also condemning the reactions of violence and calling for “pray for the rest of the age of George Floyd and for all those who lost their lives because of the sin of racism “
The United States has also drawn unusual criticism from its allies including Germany, Britain and Australia.
Iran, on the other hand, held, through the voice of its supreme guide Ali Khamenei, that the death of George Floyd revealed “the nature of America” and “what it has always done with the whole world”.
Faced with protests in his country, where the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates inequalities, Donald Trump has remained silent so far on the responses to the evils denounced by the demonstrators and has only briefly mentioned the “revolt” in the face of the conditions of George Floyd’s death.
This 46-year-old man died on May 25 while repeating “ I can’t breathe (“I can’t breathe”), lying on the floor, handcuffed and with his neck under the knee of a policeman whose colleagues remained passive. Autopsies confirmed that the death was due to pressure on his neck.