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US streets calmest in days, protests largely peaceful

US streets calmest in days, protests largely peaceful

Protests were largely peaceful and the nation's streets were calmer than they have been in days since the killing of George Floyd set off demonstrations that at times brought violence and destruction along with pleas to stop police brutality and injustice against African Americans.

There were scattered reports of looting in New York City overnight, and as of Wednesday morning there had been over 9,000 arrests nationwide since the unrest began following Floyd's death May 25 in Minneapolis. But there was a marked quiet compared with the unrest of the past few nights, which included fires and shootings in some cities.

The calmer night came as many cities intensified their curfews, with authorities in New York and Washington ordering people off streets while it was still daylight.

A block away from the White House, thousands of demonstrators massed following a crackdown a day earlier when officers on foot and horseback aggressively drove peaceful protesters away from Lafayette Park, clearing the way for President Donald Trump to do a photo op at nearby St. John's Church. Tuesday's protesters faced law enforcement personnel who stood behind a black chain-link fence that was put up overnight to block access to the park.

"Last night pushed me way over the edge," said Jessica DeMaio, 40, of Washington, who attended a Floyd protest Tuesday for the first time.

"Being here is better than being at home feeling helpless." Pastors at the church prayed with demonstrators and handed out water bottles. The crowd remained in place after the city's 7 pm curfew passed, defying warnings that the response from law enforcement could be even more forceful. But the crowd Tuesday was peaceful, even polite.

At one point, the crowd booed when a protester climbed a light post and took down a street sign. A chant went up: "Peaceful protest!" Trump, meanwhile, amplified his hard-line calls from Monday, when he threatened to send in the military to restore order if governors didn't do it.

"NYC, CALL UP THE NATIONAL GUARD," he tweeted. "The lowlifes and losers are ripping you apart. Act fast!" Thousands of people remained in the streets of New York City Tuesday night, undeterred by an 8 pm curfew, though most streets were clear by early Wednesday other than police who were patrolling some areas. Midtown Manhattan was pocked with battered storefronts after Monday's protests.

Protests also passed across the US, including in Los Angeles, Miami, St. Paul, Minnesota, Columbia, South Carolina and Houston, where the police chief talked to peaceful demonstrators, vowing reforms.

"God as my witness, change is coming," Art Acevedo said. "And we're going to do it the right way." More than 20,000 National Guard members have been called up in 29 states to deal with the violence.

Biden: Floyd won’t be another hashtag

Extending support to George Floyd's family, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday said that Floyd's death wouldn't 'just become another hashtag'.

"I made a promise to George's family that he wouldn't just become another hashtag. We're going to tackle this head-on -- and we're going to need your help to do it. Grateful for your support," Biden tweeted.

"George Floyd's last words...didn't die with him. They're still being heard. They're echoing across this nation. It's a wake-up call for all of us," he added.

Commenting on the upcoming US presidential elections, he said, "I have said from the outset of this election that we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. Who we are. What we believe. And maybe most important--who we want to be. It's all at stake. That is truer today than ever."

LA mayor takes knee at protests

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti took a knee in solidarity with protesters in a demonstration over the death of African American man George Floyd in police custody last week in Minneapolis.

Garcetti took a knee during one of the demonstrations held near LA Police Department headquarters in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, expressing his support for peaceful protests against police brutality, Xinhua news agency reported.

Retired police captain shot dead while protecting friend's store

A retired police captain who died during a night of violent protests was trying to protect his friend's pawn shop, his widow said. David Dorn's last moments were caught on video and apparently posted on Facebook Live, though the video has since been taken down. He was killed by people who had broken into Lee's Pawn & Jewelry, and his body found on the sidewalk at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. No arrests have been made.

His death came on a violent night in St. Louis, where four officers were shot, officers were pelted with rocks and fireworks, and 55 businesses were burglarized or damaged, including a convenience store that burned. Police also shot and gravely injured a burglary suspect who they say shot at officers. Dorn was a friend of the pawn shop's owner and frequently checked on the business when alarms went off, his wife, St. Louis police Sgt. Ann Marie Dorn, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.




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