Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 3 July 2020

George Floyd remembered in hometown Houston march

President Donald Trump has vowed to use US military to halt clashes as unrest continues to spread

George Floyd's hometown of Houston held a memorial march for him on Tuesday, where those gathered told of a "gentle giant" whose legacy helped the city to largely avoid the violent protests elsewhere in the US.

Hundreds gathered at a central park to honour the African-American, who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.

His death ignited protests across the country.

Floyd lived most of his 46 years in Houston's historically black Third Ward neighbourhood, about 1.5 kilometres south of the park where the march began.

He moved to Minneapolis several years ago.

The memorial march was organised by well-known Houston rappers Trae Tha Truth, who was a longtime friend of Floyd, and Bun B, who helped the family to organise the event.

Houston's mayor and police chief were expected to attend.

A mural of George Floyd in the Third Ward in Houston, Texas. AFP
A mural of George Floyd in the Third Ward in Houston, Texas. AFP

"We're gonna represent him right," Trae Tha Truth, whose given name is Frazier Thompson III, told the crowd of several hundred people.

"We are gonna tear the system from the inside out. George Floyd is looking down at us now and he's smiling."

Violence continued to rage across the country on Monday, as four police officers were shot in St Louis after peaceful demonstrations escalated to looting and arson.

The clashes in the Midwest city, shootings in Las Vegas and protests in New York broke out hours after President Donald Trump vowed to use the US military to halt demonstrations.

On Monday afternoon in St Louis, hundreds rallied peacefully outside the justice centre in the city.

They included mayor Lyda Krewson and St Louis public safety director Jimmie Edwards.

Protesters walked to Gateway Arch National Park, then on to nearby Interstate 64 highrway.

But some later gathered in front of police headquarters, where officers used tear gas.

Fireworks go off in front of police, who with protesters in front of police headquarters in St. Louis on Monday, June 1, 2020. The small group of protesters was originally part of a much larger group demonstrating earlier in the afternoon against the death of George Floyd. (Colter Peterson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
Fireworks are thrown at police during protests against the killing of George Floyd. St Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

Demonstrators broke windows at a grocery shop and stole items from inside before the building was set on fire.

St Louis police tweeted early on Tuesday that the officers were taken to a hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.

“Officers are still taking gunfire downtown and we will share more info as it available,” it said on Twitter.

Earlier, in a speech at the White House, Mr Trump said: “Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law-enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled.

“If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the US military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

Mr Trump condemned the killing of Floyd and promised justice would be served, but also said rightful protests could not be drowned out by an “angry mob”.

After the address, officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear a path to the nearby St John’s Episcopal Church, enabling Mr Trump to walk there unimpeded.

The White House later said it had been clearing the area before a curfew.

Once there, Mr Trump posed for pictures with his daughter Ivanka and US Attorney General William Barr, and deepened outrage by posing for pictures while clutching a copy of the Bible.

Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church diocese in Washington, DC, was among those who criticised the use of the historic church for a photo opportunity.

“In so doing, he used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes,” Bishop Curry said on Twitter.

The church suffered minor fire damage during protests on Monday night.

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The National

In Las Vegas, police said an officer was shot in the city’s central tourist district, the Strip, and others were responding to another shooting. Authorities said both occurred on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Two officers were hit by a car at a demonstration in Buffalo, in upstate New York, on Monday night. Officials said the driver and passengers were believed to be in custody.

New York City joined many other places around the country in imposing restrictions on movement after days of unrest.

Despite being ordered to stay at home, people stayed on the streets late into the night.

Arrests were made after a break-in at Macy’s department store on 34th Street. Police pulled two handcuffed men out and put them in a van.

As the 11pm deadline to clear the streets approached, bands of protesters marched peacefully through Manhattan and Brooklyn.

But police responded to reports of roving groups of people smashing their way into shops and looting them.

They rushed into a Nike store and carried out armloads of clothing.

Near the Rockefeller Centre, shopfront windows were smashed and several arrests were made.

Bank windows were broken and wreckage littered an AT&T mobile phone store.

Video on social media showed some protesters arguing with people who were breaking windows, urging them to stop, but vandalism and smash-and-grab thefts increased as the night deepened.

Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that the following night’s lockdown would be brought forward to 8pm. It will end at 5am on Wednesday.

Updated: June 3, 2020 09:05 AM

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