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As it happenedended1591603055

George Floyd protests: Trump claims Minneapolis was 'under siege' as officials implore president to remove military presence

Latest updates as demonstrations continued in wake of police killing

Chris Riotta,Vincent Wood,Chris Baynes
Friday 05 June 2020 16:48 BST
Rev Al Sharpton gives eulogy at George Floyd memorial: 'I'm more hopeful today than ever'

Donald Trump has claimed the city of Minneapolis was “under siege” before the US National Guard was called in during a press conference on Friday in which he implored other cities facing major protests to call the federal government for assistance.

“They were ripping that place apart,” the president said about the city in which George Floyd was killed at the hands of a white police officer named Derek Chauvin, who has since been charged with second-degree murder. “It was under siege like nobody’s ever seen.”

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser meanwhile called on Mr Trump to remove “all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence” from the city as protests have continued for ten days.

In lengthy White House remarks amid sweeping social unrest, a rising virus death toll and Depression-level unemployment, the Republican president suggested that even Floyd would be pleased with the latest economic news.

"Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that's happening for our country," Mr Trump said. "This is a great day for him. It's a great day for everybody."

Putting words in the dead man's mouth drew quick criticism, including from likely presidential foe Joe Biden, who said it was "despicable."

A few blocks away, city workers painted a huge "Black Lives Matter" sign on 16th Street leading to the White House.

On the economy, Mr Trump said an economic rebound was the answer to racial inequality, calling it "the greatest thing that can happen for race relations."

Mr Trump was quick to seize the positive jobs report at a time when his political standing is at one of the weakest points of his presidency less than five months before the general election. Just two in 10 voters believe the country is headed in the right direction, a Monmouth University poll found earlier in the week.

Few things matter more to Mr Trump's political future than the state of the US economy, which was all but shut down by state governments this spring to prevent greater spread of the deadly coronavirus. Defying health experts, the president has aggressively encouraged states to re-open and has assailed state leaders by name who resist.

At the same time, he's taken an uneven approach to explosive racial tensions in the wake of Floyd's death. As he has in recent days, Mr Trump on Friday offered a sympathetic message to Floyd in one breath and lashed out at protests in his name the next.

Local governments "have to dominate the streets," Mr Trump said. "You can't let what's happening happen."

The president spoke in the Rose Garden after the Labor Department said that US employers added 2.5 million workers to their payrolls last month. Economists had been expecting them instead to slash 8 million jobs in continuing fallout from the pandemic.

The jobless rate, at 13.3 percent, is still on par with what the nation witnessed during the Great Depression. And for the second straight month, the Labor Department acknowledged making errors in counting the unemployed during the virus outbreak, saying the real figure is worse than the numbers indicate.

Still, after weeks of dire predictions by economists that unemployment in May could hit 20 percent or more, the news was seen as evidence that the collapse may have bottomed out in April.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Check out The Independent's live coverage below:


Welcome to The Independent's live updates as protests against racial injustice continue in the US and around the world in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

Chris Baynes5 June 2020 08:35

‘Get your knees off our necks’: Powerful eulogy ends with 8-minute, 46-second silence at memorial service

George Floyd's family were joined by hundreds of others including civil rights leaders and politicians at a memorial service in Minneapolis last night.

Reverend Al Sharpton delivered an impassioned eulogy before an 8-minute and 46-second silence to mark the length of a police officer knelt on Floyd's neck during the arrest which led to his death.

During his speech, Sharpton said: "George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to be is you kept your knee on our neck.

“Man comes out of a single-parent home, educates himself and rises up and becomes the President of the United States and you ask him for his birth certificate, cause you can’t take your knee off our neck.

“It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say, ‘Get your knee off our necks!’”

He also announced Floyd's family will lead a march on Washington in August to mark the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s famous speech and “restore and recommit that dream” of the Civil Rights era.

Read Justin Vallejo's full story on the service here:

Chris Baynes5 June 2020 08:44

Trump sued over tear-gassing of protesters outside White House

Civil rights groups have field a lawsuit against Donald Trump and his administration over the use of force to clear peaceful protesters outside the White House on Monday.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Black Lives Matter allege the president and his officials violated the rights of demonstrators who were tear-gassed in Lafayette Park to allow Trump to pose for a photo outside a church holding a bible.

Their lawsuit says Trump, attorney general William Barr and others conspired with police to launch an "coordinated and unprovoked charge into the crowd of demonstrators".

Barr said yesterday that he ordered the protesters to be dispersed because officials were supposed to extend a security perimeter around the White House earlier in the day. He said he arrived there later in the afternoon and discovered it hadn't been done.

April Goggans, core organiser of Black Lives Matter DC. “What happened to our members Monday evening, here in the nation’s capital, was an affront to all our rights.

“We won’t be silenced by tear gas and rubber bullets. Now is our time to be heard.”

Chris Baynes5 June 2020 09:27

Riot police filmed shoving elderly man onto ground at New York protest in unprovoked attack

Police have been filmed shoving an elderly man to the ground, leaving him unconscious and bleeding from the head, on the fringes of a protest in New York state.

Two officers in the city of Buffalo have been suspended after a local radio station reporter posted footage of the incident on social media.

It shows the 75-year-old man approached a line of police in riot gear and speaking to them. As police shout "move back", one officer can be seen striking his baton at the man while another pushes him with his hand.

The man stumbles backwards to the ground with an audible thud and blood can be seen pouring from his head onto the pavement. The victim was said to be in a serious but stable condition in hospital overnight.

Buffalo mayor Byron Brown said he was “deeply disturbed by the video”. He added police commissioner Bryon Lockwood had directed an “immediate investigation” and said the two police officers involved had been suspended without pay.

Gino Spocchia has the full story:

Chris Baynes5 June 2020 09:44

British police must respond to concerns of George Floyd protesters, warns watchdog

British police must respond to “real and growing concerns” about racism within their own ranks, a watchdog has said, as protests continue across the UK in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in the US.

The director general of the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which investigates deaths in custody in England and Wales and allegations of police brutality and corruption, urged officers to listen to the black community.

Writing in The Independent, Michael Lockwood also highlighted issues in British policing that were disproportionately affecting ethnic minorities, including the use of Tasers, stop-and-search powers and, in recent weeks, fines for breaching the coronavirus lockdown.

“Right now, communities in the UK are expressing real and growing concerns about disproportionality,” he wrote, adding that it was “incumbent on the wider police service to listen and respond to the concerns being raised”.

Home affairs correspondent Lizzie Dearden reports:

Chris Baynes5 June 2020 10:25

Thousands attend Canberra protest

Thousands of people have gathered in Australia's capital as George Floyd's death continues to prompt demonstrations over racial inequality around the world.

The Canberra rally was attended by an estimated attracted 2,000 people, comes before larger protests are planned for Australia's most populous cities on Saturday.

Matilda House, an elder of the Ngambri-Ngunnawal family group indigenous to the Canberra region, told the rally: "Australians have to understand that what's been going on the United States has been happening here for a long time."

She said Australia still suffered a colonial attitude "that blacks are only here to be walked on, trodden on and murdered".

At least 432 Aboriginal people died in police custody since 1991, according to recent analysis by The Guardian.

Black Lives Matter protesters march towards Parliament House in Canberra (photo: EPA)

Police were on Friday seeking a court order banning a rally in Australia's largest city, Sydney, because of the concerns about the risk of coronavirus spreading.

Authorities have also urged demonstrators not to attend another rally in Melbourne, the country's second-largest city.

Chris Baynes5 June 2020 10:43

Twitter bans Trump's George Floyd tribute video over copyright

Twitter has banned a Donald Trump tribute video about George Floyd, citing a copyright complaint.

The video – posted on his campaign account – included a host of photos and videos of marches and violence, with the president's voice speaking over it.

But it has now been disabled, with Twitter saying it had received a copyright complaint. It did not indicate which part of the video had caused it to be banned, reports Andrew Griffin:

Chris Baynes5 June 2020 10:56

NFL players unite in video calling out league organisers

More than a dozen NFL players have united in a powerful video message calling on the league's organisers to take a more explicit anti-racism stance and admit it was "wrong to silence" players who have spoken out in the past.

The 71-second clip was released on social media last night features Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley and Michael Thomas, among others, speaking in turn and then together.

Addressing the NFL, they ask: "It's been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered. How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players? What will it take? For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?"

The players then take turns asking the question, "What if I was George Floyd?"

They also name several other black men and women who have recently been killed, including Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Eric Garner.

The players say they "will not be silenced" and "assert their right to peacefully protest".

They call on the NFL to "condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people", admit it was wrong to silence its players from peacefully protesting, and explicitly state that it believes "black lives matter".

The NFL infamously banned players from taking a knee at matches to protest against police brutality, and effectively exiled Colin Kaepernick for doing so. 

The league issued a statement saying it was "saddened" about Floyd's death last month, but that was condemned as "complete trash" and hypocrisy by Jacksonville Jaguars player Peyton Thompson.

Chris Baynes5 June 2020 11:36

Trump’s threat of military action ‘very dangerous’, warn retired US generals

Donald Trump’s response to the George Floyd protests have prompted a growing outcry from retired US military generals.

The presidents' defence secretary and three former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs have expressed grave concerns about his willingness to wield the military as a club against American citizens.

Read our full story on that here:

Chris Baynes5 June 2020 11:44

Australian health minister - protests are 'a lottery with peoples lives'

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said people had the right to express themselves, but should the Covid-19 disease spread at protests, it would be impossible to trace all participants.

"Any mass gathering at this time is a lottery with peoples' lives," he told reporters in Melbourne.

Around 50,000 Australians are expected at nationwide events in the country as anger over Floyd's death in Minneapolis also focuses attention on mistreatment of indigenous Australians.

Vincent Wood5 June 2020 12:15

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