- The Minneapolis city council has said it wants to disband the city’s police department, after days of protests over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a city police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25.
- US President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of National Guard troops from the streets of Washington, DC.
- Protesters have also taken to the streets across the world – from the UK to Spain, Italy and Australia – as demonstrations against police brutality and racism entered their 13th day. While some clashes were reported, they remained mostly peaceful.
- Hundreds of mourners gathered in North Carolina on Saturday for a memorial service for Floyd, the second of three events currently planned.
Monday, June 8:
02:01 GMT (Monday): Curfews lift, police show less force amid peaceful protests
With New York City poised to reopen after a more than two-month coronavirus shutdown, officials lifted a curfew that was in place amid protests of police brutality and racial injustice. But they also urged that demonstrators be tested for COVID-19.
“Get a test. Get a test,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told people who have been participating in rallies and marches in memory of George Floyd. “I would act as if you were exposed, and I would tell people you are interacting with, assume I am positive for the virus.”
Cuomo said the state would open 15 testing sites dedicated to protesters so they can get results quickly. His call for demonstrators to proceed carefully is similar to those made in Seattle, San Francisco and Atlanta following massive demonstrations, with free testing for protesters.
00:15 GMT (Monday): Minneapolis city councillors back plan to disband police
A majority of councillors in Minneapolis have told a rally in the city that they want to break up the city’s police department.
“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” said Lisa Bender, the council president who was among nine of the council’s 12 members who took part in the rally. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”
Bender said she and the other council members at the rally were committed to “end policing as we know it and recreate systems that actually keep us safe.” Council member Jeremiah Ellison promied the council would “dismantle” the police department.
Sunday, June 7
20:50 GMT – UK anti-racism protests ‘subverted by thuggery’: PM Johnson
Anti-racism protests in Britain have been “subverted by thuggery”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said, warning those responsible would be held to account.
Tens of thousands took to the streets of London on Sunday, rallying for a second day running to condemn police brutality after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As numbers dwindled, some protesters tussled with police.
20:40 GMT – Washington protesters ask black Secret Service agent to ‘take a knee’
Peaceful protesters have gathered again near the White House in the 13consecutive day of protests in the country.
In one instance, protesters implored a black US Secret Service officer to take a knee in solidarity with their demonstration against racism and brutality by law enforcement.
“I appreciate all of this. … I’m still black. You see what I’m saying? You guys are still fighting for my rights,” the unidentified officer told the protesters through a fence outside the Treasury building in Washington, in an exchange captured by Reuters TV.
“What I’m saying is, technically we just can’t do that,” he said.
Demonstrators protest near the White House in Washington [Maya Alleruzzo/The Associated Press]
20:30 GMT – Virginia officer charged in use of stun gun on black man
A white Virginia police officer was charged with assault and battery in connection with the use of a stun gun on a black man, authorities have announced.
Fairfax County police Officer Tyler Timberlake was trying to get the man into an ambulance to go to a detox centre on Friday, according to body camera video shown at a news conference late Saturday.
Timberlake is seen striking the man with a stun gun and then getting on top of him, along with the officer wearing the body camera. Once Timberlake is on top of the man, he presses the stun gun into the back of his neck and fires again.
20:10 GMT – Scuffles break out in central London
Scuffles have broken out between police and protesters in central London by the arches that effectively connect the Foreign Office and the Treasury.
Objects were thrown at police lining up at the three arches that bridges the connection just off Whitehall, which is also near the offices of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Many of the demonstrators, who gathered earlier Sunday outside the US embassy just south of the River Thames, have moved towards central London, where clashes also took place Saturday.
Police clash with demonstrators in Whitehall during a Black Lives Matter protest in London [Dylan Martinez/Reuters]
19:50 GMT – Attorney General denies Lafayette Square was cleared for Trump photo shoot
US Attorney General William Barr has defended the clearing of mostly peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square on Monday, denying it was done for President Donald Trump to have a photo shoot in front of a local church.
Barr, in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” programme, insisted that, despite contradictory reports from many of those present, that protesters were “rowdy and non-compliant” and some had thrown projectiles, justifying the aggressive response.
He said the clearing was meant to increase the perimeter around the White House and was unrelated to Trump’s photo session.
Donald Trump holds a Bible outside St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park [Patrick Semansky/the Associate Press]
19:20 GMT – Trump wanted to deploy 10,000 troops in Washington, DC, official says
US President Donald Trump told his advisors at one point this past week he wanted 10,000 troops to deploy to the Washington, DC area to halt civil unrest over the killing of a black man by Minneapolis police,a senior US official told Reuters news agency.
The account of Trump’s demand during a heated Oval Office conversation on Monday shows how close the president may have come to fulfilling his threat to deploy active duty troops, despite opposition from Pentagon leadership.
At the meeting, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, and Attorney General William Barr recommended against such a deployment, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The meeting was “contentious,” the official added.
Anti-racism protests held across Europe
18:50 GMT – Serbian president gives Trump rare European support
Offering rare open support by a leader in Europe, Serbia’s president says US President Donald Trump faces “a serious and tough enemy” as he tries to quell massive protests over the violent death of George Floyd.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told local Pancevo TV on Sunday, “I hope the US will come out of the crisis.” He also said he wishes Trump “the best of luck.”
Vucic, a populist and former ultra-nationalist, also addressed the release of Serbian soccer player Aleksandar Katai by the LA Galaxy soccer club after a series of social media posts by his wife in which she urged police to “kill” protesters and referred to protesters as “disgusting cattle.”
Vucic says the team’s decision “only speaks about the chase and chaos that has been conducted against President Trump.”
18:20 GMT – ‘You need to step in’: George Floyd police failed to intervene
Minneapolis was among several cities that had policies on the books requiring police officers to intervene to stop colleagues from using unreasonable force, but that could not save George Floyd.
Law enforcement experts say such rules will always run up against entrenched police culture and the fear of being ostracised and branded a “rat”.
Read more here.
Protesters call for police reform in the wake of the death of George Floyd who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers [Julio Cortez/AP]
17:50 GMT- Chicago lifts 9 PM curfew
Chicago has lifted its 9 PM curfew, according to a tweet by the city’s mayor.
The curfew was put in place on June 1 as protests began to sweep the country.
“The curfew is lifted effective immediately and going forward,” Mayor Lori Lightfood wrote. “I know this time in our city and our country has been difficult for us all, and I’m grateful to our residents for working together to navigate this challenging time.”
The curfew is lifted effective immediately. I know this time in our city and our country has been difficult for us all, and I’m grateful to our residents for working together to navigate this challenging time.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 7, 2020
17:15 GMT – Officials urge Floyd protesters to get coronavirus tests
As New York City prepared to reopen after a more than two-month coronavirus shutdown, officials lifted a curfew that was put in place amid protests of police brutality and racial injustice – and urged demonstrators get tested for COVID-19.
“Get a test. Get a test,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged.
He said the state planned to open 15 testing sites dedicated to protesters so they can get results quickly.
“I would act as if you were exposed, and I would tell people you are interacting with, assume I am positive for the virus,” Cuomo added.
16:40 GMT – Protesters in England throw slave trader statue into harbour
Anti-racism protesters in the southwestern England port city of Bristol have toppled the statue of a prominent slave trader and dumped it into the harbour.
Footage from local broadcaster ITV News West Country shows demonstrators attach ropes to the statue of Edward Colston before pulling it down on Sunday and eventually dumping it into the harbor. Images on social media show protesters appearing to kneel on the statue’s neck, recalling how a white Minneapolis police officer used his knee to pin down George Floyd’s neck before his death.
Colston, who was born in 1636, has been a controversial figure in Bristol. Among efforts to “decolonise” the city have been calls to remove his name from its biggest music venue, Colston Hall.
So proud to see activists in the UK tear down the statue of the monster Edward Colston.
Every statue of every single person who bought, sold, and traded human beings, or fought for the right to do so, should be torn down.
ALL OF THEM. EVERYWHERE.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) June 7, 2020
16:10 GMT – Democratic US presidential candidate Joe Biden to meet Floyd family
Democratic US presidential candidate Joe Biden will travel to Houston and meet with the family of George Floyd, two weeks after Floyd’s death in police custody triggered nationwide protests over racial injustice, two senior aides said.
Biden is expected to offer his sympathies to Floyd’s relatives and record a video message for Floyd’s funeral service, which is taking place later in the day in Houston, the aides said. He is not expected to attend the service to avoid any disruption to mourners that could be caused by his Secret Service protective detail.
Floyd’s body arrived in Houston on Sunday, officials said.
15:40 GMT – Protesters in Virginia topple Confederate statue
US demonstrators toppled a statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham from its pedestal after a day of mostly peaceful demonstrations across Virginia on Saturday.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that most of the demonstrators had already dispersed when a rope was tied around the Confederate statue, which has stood since 1891 in Richmond’s Monroe Park. In 2017, some of Wickham’s descendants urged the city to remove the statue.
Confederate monuments are a major flashpoint in Virginia and across the US.
A Moral Debt: The Legacy of Slavery in the USA – Al Jazeera Correspondent
15:15 GMT – Trump orders National Guard’s withdrawal from Washington
US President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of National Guard troops from the streets of Washington after days of protests over the police killing of George Floyd.
“I have just given an order for our National Guard to start the process of withdrawing from Washington, DC, now that everything is under perfect control,” he tweeted.
“They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed. Far fewer protesters showed up last night than anticipated!”
A demonstrator stares at a National Guard soldier as protests continued over the death of George Floyd near the White House [Alex Brandon/The Associated Press]
14:30 GMT – Trump has drifted from constitution, former military chief warns
Colin Powell, who served as America’s top military officer and top diplomat under Republican presidents, has said he will vote for Democrat Joe Biden, accusing Donald Trump of drifting from the US constitution.
In a scathing indictment of Trump on CNN, Powell denounced the US president as a danger to democracy whose lies and insults have diminished America in the eyes of the world.
“We have a constitution. We have to follow that constitution. And the president’s drifted away from it,” Powell said.
A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell was the latest in a series of retired top military officers to publicly criticise Trump’s handling of the protests.
13:45 GMT – Protests continue across Europe
Thousands of people took to the streets of Barcelona, Madrid and Rome in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has drawn large protests against racism and police brutality around the world.
The rally in Rome’s sprawling People’s Square was noisy but peaceful, with the majority of protesters wearing masks to protect against coronavirus.
More demonstrations were being held Sunday across the United Kingdom, including one outside the US Embassy in London.
Protesters raise their fists at the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, during a demonstration against racism and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement [Gabriel Bouys/AFP]
13:15 GMT – Thailand holds Zoom protest
Some 300 Thais and foreigners in Thailand and elsewhere joined an online protest against racism on Sunday, adding their voices to global calls for justice for Floyd.
With coronavirus restrictions, protesters with “I Can’t Breathe” messages on their arms and placards gathered on the video-meeting platform Zoom to emphasize the call in Thailand as they watched the video clip of Floyd’s last moments.
12:50 GMT – Dozens attend protest at US embassy in Hong Kong
A Black Lives Matter protest was cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions in Hong Kong, but a group of demonstrators showed up in front of US embassy on Sunday.
“It’s a global issue,” Quinland Anderson, a 28-year-old UK citizen living in Hong Kong who was at the protest told The Associated Press news agency.
Hong Kong resident and protester Max Percy, 24, said no human should have “suffered” as Floyd did.
Protesters gathered in a group of eight, which is in accordance with the limit of people who are allowed to meet under current coronavirus restrictions, and took turns to give speeches outside of the embassy.
12:25 GMT – New York: Curfew lifted early after peace protests
New York City is lifting its curfew spurred by protests against police brutality ahead of schedule, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday morning.
The 8pm citywide curfew, New York’s first in decades, had been set to remain in effect through to at least Sunday, with the city planning to lift it at the same time it enters the first phase of reopening after more than two months of shutdowns because of the coronavirus.
“Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city,” de Blasio tweeted in his announcement of the curfew’s end “effective immediately”. “Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart.”
The move followed New York City police pulling back on enforcing the curfew on Saturday as thousands took to the streets and parks to protest police brutality, sparked by Floyd’s death.
New York City: We are lifting the curfew, effective immediately. Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city.
Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart. Keep staying safe. Keep looking out for each other.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 7, 2020
See the updates from Saturday here.
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