Angry US protests for second night over police killing of black man

Protesters call for justice for George Floyd following his death outside the 3rd Police Precinct on May 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (AFP)
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Updated 28 May 2020

Angry US protests for second night over police killing of black man

  • Outrage has grown across the country at George Floyd’s death on Monday,
  • ‘I would like those officers to be charged with murder, because that’s exactly what they did’

MINNEAPOLIS: Demonstrators clashed with police, looted stores and set fires as a man was fatally shot during a second night of protests in the US city of Minneapolis Wednesday over the killing of a black man by a police officer.
Police fired tear gas and formed a human barricade to keep protesters from climbing a fence surrounding the Third Precinct, where the officers accused of killing George Floyd worked before they were fired on Tuesday.
They pushed protesters back as the crowd grew, a day after firing rubber bullets and more tear gas on thousands of demonstrators angered by the latest death of an African-American at the hands of US law enforcement.
Minnesota state Governor Tim Walz urged people to leave the area around the precinct where several fires were burning, warning of the “extremely dangerous situation” in a tweet late Wednesday.
Outrage has grown across the country at Floyd’s death on Monday, fueled in part by bystander cellphone video which shows him, handcuffed and in the custody of four white police officers, on the ground while one presses his knee into the victim’s neck.
President Donald Trump in a tweet called Floyd’s death “sad and tragic,” and all four officers have been fired, as prosecutors said they had called in the FBI to help investigate the case.
Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo cautioned protesters Wednesday to remain peaceful.
But by 10:00 p.m. (0300 GMT Thursday) an auto parts store across from the precinct had been set alight and a nearby Target was being looted, according to US media.
Police continued to hold the crowds back from scaling a fence into the precinct’s parking lot, where their cruisers contain guns.
As the violence escalated, with more businesses looted, a man was shot near the protests and later died, police said. A person has been arrested.
Protesters remained peaceful at two other locations in the city.
At the place where Floyd was first taken into custody, people chanted and carried placards and sent out bouquets were set out as tributes to Floyd.
Calls for justice came from around the country.
“I would like those officers to be charged with murder, because that’s exactly what they did,” Bridgett Floyd, the victim’s sister, said on NBC television.
“They murdered my brother.... They should be in jail for murder.”
Protesters marched on downtown Los Angeles and briefly blocked the 101 Freeway.
Some demonstrators smashed the windows of two police highway patrol cruisers, clambering on the hood of one of the vehicles. One of the protesters was injured when they fell off the vehicle as it sped away.
Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey said he could not understand why the officer who held his knee to Floyd’s neck on a Minneapolis street until the 46-year-old restaurant worker went limp has not been arrested.
“Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail? If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now,” Frey said.
The case was seen as the latest example of police brutality against African Americans, which gave rise six years ago to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Floyd had been detained on a minor charge of allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill to make a purchase at a convenience store.
In the video, policemen hold him to the ground while one presses his knee to Floyd’s neck.
“Your knee in my neck. I can’t breathe.... Mama. Mama,” Floyd pleaded.
He grew silent and motionless, unable to move even as the officers told him to “get up and get in the car.”
He was taken to hospital where he was later declared dead.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the FBI needs to thoroughly investigate the case.
“It’s a tragic reminder that this was not an isolated incident, but part of an engrained systemic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country,” Biden said.
“We have to ensure that the Floyd family receive the justice they are entitled to.”
Democratic Senator Kamala Harris called the policeman’s using his knee on Floyd’s neck “torture.”
“This is not new, it has been going on a long time... what our communities have known for generations, which is discriminatory implementation and enforcement of the laws,” she said.
“He was begging to be able to breathe,” she said. “It was a public execution.”
The protests evoked memories of riots in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 after a policeman shot dead an African American man suspected of robbery, and the case of New Yorker Eric Garner, who was detained by police for illegally selling cigarettes and filmed being held in an illegal chokehold that led to his death.
“How many more of these senseless excessive-force killings from the people who are supposed to protect us can we take in America?” said civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who was retained by Floyd’s family
Crump pointed out that the arrest involved a minor, non-violent crime, and there was no sign, as police initially claimed, that Floyd resisted arrest.
“There is no reason to apply this excessive fatal force,” Crump said.
“That has to be the tipping point. Everybody deserves justice ... We can’t have two justice systems, one for blacks and one for whites.”


Civilians, soldiers clash leaving 127 dead in South Sudan

Updated 12 August 2020

Civilians, soldiers clash leaving 127 dead in South Sudan

  • The violence in Tonj began after several armed youths got into a disagreement with soldiers
  • An initial armed confrontation was brought under control, but local youths subsequently mobilized for an attack on the army position

JUBA: Clashes between soldiers and civilians during a disarmament exercise in the central South Sudanese town of Tonj have left 127 dead, the army spokesman said Wednesday.
Major General Lul Ruai Koang told AFP that the fighting erupted on Saturday as security forces carried out an operation to disarm civilians in the area which has seen deadly inter-communal clashes.
More than six years after a civil war broke out in the country, and in the absence of a functioning government, many communities are flush with weapons, which they keep for protection or defense against cattle raids.
The violence in Tonj began after several armed youths got into a disagreement with soldiers. An initial armed confrontation was brought under control, but according to Koang the youths mobilized others for an attack on the army position.
“On the latest, the number of those killed, I can confirm to you that it rose to 127,” Koang said, adding that 45 of those killed were security forces and 82 were youths from the area.
A further 32 soldiers were injured.
Koang said two military officers involved in “triggering the clashes” had been arrested, and that the situation in Tonj had calmed down.
South Sudan is emerging from a six-year civil war that left 380,000 dead and millions displaced, and disarmament is a major stumbling block.
Experts have warned against operations that coerce people to lay down their guns without proper planning, as some communities could find themselves unable to protect themselves after their weapons are removed.
“The clashes should be an opportunity to rethink the approach to disarmament. What is the point of removing guns without addressing what drives folks to arms themselves?” Geoffrey Duke, head of the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, said on Twitter.
“We can take guns away this week & they buy a new one next week (as) long as they still see the need to have (one).”