Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fire and fury rage across the US as race protests intensify



Fire and fury rage across the US as race protests intensify

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Clashes over police brutality escalated across the US over the weekend. AFP

Fire and fury rage across the US as race protests intensify

Curfews were imposed on major US cities as clashes over police brutality escalated across the country with demonstrators ignoring warnings from President Donald Trump that his government would stop the violent protests “cold”.

Minneapolis, the epicentre of the unrest, was gripped by a fifth consecutive night of violence on Saturday with police in riot gear firing tear gas and stun grenades at protesters venting fury at the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during an arrest in the city on May 25.

Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta were among two dozen cities ordering people to stay indoors overnight as more states called in National Guard soldiers to help control the civil unrest not seen in the US for years.

From Seattle to New York, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets demanding tougher murder charges and more arrests over the death of Floyd, who stopped breathing after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

In Los Angeles, officers fired rubber bullets and swung batons during a testy standoff with demonstrators who set fire to a police car.

Police and protesters clashed in numerous cities including Chicago and New York, with officers responding to projectiles with pepper spray while shop windows were smashed in Philadelphia.

Trump blamed the extreme left for the violence, including widespread looting and arson in Minneapolis, saying rioters were dishonouring the memory of Floyd.

“We cannot and must not allow a small group of criminals and vandals to wreck our cities and lay waste to our communities.

“My administration will stop mob violence. And we’ll stop it cold,” he added, accusing the loose-knit militant anti-fascist network Antifa of orchestrating the violence.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden condemned the violence of the protests but said on Sunday that US citizens had every right to demonstrate.

“Protesting such brutality is right and necessary,” he said. “But burning down communities and needless destruction is not.”

Peaceful protests occurred too, including in Toronto as the movement spread beyond US borders.

Demonstrators nationwide chanted slogans such as “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe”, which Floyd, who has become a fresh symbol of police brutality, was heard saying repeatedly before he died.

“We’re not turning the cheek anymore. Black lives matter. They will always matter. And we’re here today to show that,” said makeup artist Melissa Mock, who joined several thousand in a daytime protest in Miami.

Minnesota governor Tim Walzs said he was mobilising the state’s entire 13,000-strong National Guard to deal with rioters who have looted shops and set fires in the Minneapolis-St Paul area.

All major freeways leading into Minneapolis were closed on Saturday night with military helicopters overhead as the state braced for more rioting, arson and looting, with locals saying much of the violence was being perpetrated by outsiders.

Earlier, people congregated and chanted peacefully in Minneapolis, carrying brooms to help clean up damaged shops and streets.

Some placed flowers in front of the shop where Floyd was arrested on May 25, before his death in the hands of police was recorded in a horrifying cellphone video since seen around the world.

In Houston – where Floyd was born and raised – an old friend of his, Sam Osborne, said as an African American he feared for his life.

“I’m really messed up they killed him up. I’m wondering like, what could possibly happen to me?” he said.

Houston’s mayor announced at a press conference that Floyd’s body would be brought back to the Texas city.

At least eight states – including Texas, Colorado and Georgia – activated the National Guard, who were also deployed around the White House to help handle the protests there.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a