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A member of the Washington, D.C. Army National Guard checks out their military vehicles staged at the DC Armory for use on the streets of Washington ahead of the expected resumption of protests over the death in police custody of George Floyd, in Washington, U.S., June 3, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Some Active-Duty Troops to Leave Washington DC Region, Pentagon Says

Protests against police brutality and racism have erupted across the United States since May 25, when police officer Derek Chauvin pinned African-American George Floyd's neck to the ground with his knee for at least eight minutes while he laid handcuffed on his stomach and repeatedly said he couldn't breathe.

On Thursday, the memorial services to honour African American George Floyd, who died at the hands of police officers, are held in Washington, DC and New York City amid a week of protests.

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets across the United States to express their outrage and sorrow over Floyd’s death, which followed the killing of other young unarmed black people in recent months by police.

The unrest, with reports of shootings, looting and vandalism in some cities, has confounded mayors and governors trying to fully reopen US states and cities shut down over the past three months by the coronavirus pandemic.


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02:51 GMT 05.06.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The demonstration against police violence and racism near the White House has almost come to an end, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the site.

On late Thursday, only several dozens protesters remained near the fence that separated the rally from Lafayette Square in front of the White House.

The remaining people are chanting slogans while police officers are watching them without interfering.

01:42 GMT 05.06.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – A rain that hit Washington on late Thursday has dispersed some protesters near the White House, but many people are still taking part in the rally, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

When the rain started, the protesters boosted their activities, trying to shake the fence that separated them from Lafayette Square in front of the White House.

However, the rain intensified soon, and many protesters used posters with slogans to protect themselves from the rain. Some people have left the rally, but many others continue the demonstration despite the rain.

A group of protesters is chanting offensive slogans about US President Donald Trump.

01:15 GMT 05.06.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said that all participants of the massive protests against racism and police violence should be tested for COVID-19.

"Anyone who demonstrated should receive a test for COVID-19. If you think you’ve been exposed, get a test 5 days after the event. If that test turns up negative, get tested again 14 days after the event," Walz wrote on his Twitter page on late Thursday.

He also called on people with coronavirus symptoms to get tested immediately.

The city of Minneapolis in Minnesota turned into an epicenter of violent protests and riots last week following the death of an African American man, George Floyd, in police custody.

22:19 GMT 04.06.2020

STOCKHOLM (Sputnik) – The rally against racism and police brutality in the United States, which was held in the Swedish city of Malmo, has ended with no people having been detained, police spokeswoman Ewa-Gun Westford said.

On Thursday, the police issued a permit to the organizers under a condition that the event would not have more than 50 people due to COVID-19. Later, police tried to disperse the demonstrators as some 1,000 people joined the event.

"No people have been detained. Police believe that everything was normal. Our tactic was to keep patience," Westford told the Sveriges Radio broadcaster on late Thursday.

Swedish health authorities have condemned the demonstration as the situation with COVID-19 in the country is still difficult.

20:18 GMT 04.06.2020

VIENNA (Sputnik) - Some 50,000 people took part in a Black Lives Matter rally in Vienna on Thursday to protest police brutality and racism in the wake of the death of African American man George Floyd, city police said.

"According to police estimates, about 50,000 people took part in the demonstration. Everything was peaceful, and there was no unrest," police said.

The mass demonstration began at Platz der Menschenrechte. The crowd, mostly young people, marched toward Karlsplatz. They carried banners that read "Black Lives Matter" and "Dark Skin is Not a Crime."

Many of the demonstrators also wore face masks that read "I can't breathe" - the last words Floyd uttered before he lost consciousness after an arresting police officer in the US city of Minneapolis knelt on his neck for at least eight minutes.

20:05 GMT 04.06.2020

Hundreds of active-duty troops from the 82nd Airborne Division that were earlier sent to the Washington DC area are said to have left for the base in North Carolina where they came from, according to an unnamed US official, cited by Reuters.

According to the official, the decision to withdraw the troops from the area was made earlier on Thursday, noting that forces would be returning to Fort Bragg soon.

On Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman, Jonathan Rath Hoffman, said that the Pentagon had deployed around 1,600 troops to the Washington DC area, noting that the troops were on "heightened alert status" but did not take part in "defence support of civil authority operations".

The announcement followed US President Donald Trump's statement that "all federal resources", including those of the military, could be mobilized as a means of restoring order in the city amid ongoing protests over police brutality that began following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer on 25 May.

18:51 GMT 04.06.2020

WASHINGTON, June 4 (Sputnik) - Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday announced that he will not reimpose the curfew in America’s second-largest city after several days of violence marred nationwide protests sparked by the death of another black man in police custody.

"I have lifted the curfew in the City of Los Angeles. We remain strongly committed to protecting the right of Angelenos to make their voices heard and ensuring the safety of our community," Garcetti tweeted.

He imposed the curfew last Sunday to prevent looting and allow the police to differentiate between law-abiding protesters and the radical minority trying to hijack the course.

On May 25, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. The incident was captured in a video clip that went viral and sparked nationwide protests, some of which turned into riots. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

18:19 GMT 04.06.2020

STOCKHOLM, June 4 (Sputnik) - Police of Sweden's city of Malmo, on Thursday, began dispersing demonstrators rallying against racism and police brutality in the United States, police spokeswoman Ewa-Gun Westford said.

Earlier in the day, the police issued a permit to the organizers under a condition that the event would not have more than 50 people due to COVID-19.

"At 17:55 [15:55 GMT], we decided to ask demonstrators to disperse. There are currently a lot of people present, we are maintaining a dialogue with the organizers. It is very emotional here, but people had an opportunity to express their position," she told Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

There are no reports about clashes between the protesters and the police at the moment.

On May 25, George Floyd, an African American man, died in Minneapolis police custody in the US state of Minnesota. A video of the arrest showed a white police officer pressing his knee onto Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes while the African American man lied handcuffed on his stomach, repeatedly saying he could not breathe. The incident sparked protests against police violence and racism in various cities across the US and in other countries.

18:07 GMT 04.06.2020

VIENNA, June 4 (Sputnik) - Moscow is concerned about unjustified use of force by US law enforcement officials against peaceful protesters and journalists, Alexander Lukashevich, Russia's Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said on Thursday.

“We have always emphasized that any protest rallies must be peaceful, we have always harshly condemned the violence by the participants of such rallies. At the same time, in this case, we note with concern that along with robbers and hooligans, US law enforcement officers disperse peaceful demonstrations, while unjustifiably using force against both protesters and journalists reporting from the scene," Lukashevich said at an online meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council.

From May 28 to June 1, local human rights organizations registered about 100 — and according to some reports at least 200 — attacks on reporters in dozens of US cities, the Russian diplomat noted.

"We remind the US authorities of their international obligations to ensure safety and unhindered work of journalists, as well as freedom of expression and equal access to information for all. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir, also mentioned this, expressing on June 1 serious concern about 'a wave of violence' in this country against media workers in that country," the permanent representative stressed.

17:25 GMT 04.06.2020

WASHINGTON, June 4 (Sputnik) - The US capital will not impose a curfew on Thursday night, Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters.

“We will not impose a curfew tonight,” Bowser said during a press briefing.

The announcement comes after multiple days of curfews were imposed due to riots after an African American man died in police custody in Minnesota last week.

15:36 GMT 04.06.2020

MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - The cover of an upcoming edition of Time magazine will commemorate the death of George Floyd and other African Americans who have died as a result of racial inequality, the publication said on Thursday.

An oil painting by artist Titus Kaphar that depicts the pain felt by African American mothers after the deaths of their children will be the cover image for the magazine’s June 15 edition.

“In her expression, I see the Black mothers who are unseen, and rendered helpless in this fury against their babies. As I listlessly wade through another cycle of violence against Black people, I paint a Black mother… eyes closed, furrowed brow, holding the contour of her loss,” Kaphar wrote in a separate piece published online by the magazine on Thursday.

The names of 35 African-American men and women who died as a result of racial inequality, many in altercations with the police, will be published around the border of the painting.

The magazine used another of Kaphar’s paintings for a 2014 edition that covered the protests in Ferguson, Missouri after Michael Brown, an African American man, was fatally shot by a white police officer.

14:30 GMT 04.06.2020

MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - The optimism of Americans concerning progress in the fight against racial discrimination has dropped back to levels seen in the 1990s, a fresh CBS News poll has revealed.

As the United States has been gripped by the protests against the death of a black man, George Floyd, in police custody for ten days, CBS News has asked Americans whether they are seeing any real progress in ending racial discrimination.

According to the poll, only 61 percent of white respondents and 38 percent of black respondents are now optimistic about the country's path toward ending discrimination, an apparent throwback to the numbers seen in the 1990s. In 1996, 60 percent of whites and 37 percent of blacks felt the same way.

Since the 1990s, Americans have been increasingly optimistic about the progress in racial equality. Optimism peaked in 2014, the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, when 81 percent of white people and 68 percent of African Americans felt the country was on its way to fight discrimination. Since then, optimism has been declining steadily and now returned back to the 1996 numbers.

14:00 GMT 04.06.2020

WASHINGTON, June 4 (Sputnik) - A petition calling for justice in the US police killing of George Floyd has gained more than 15 million signatures, making it the most-signed appeal in the history of the Change.org website.

By Thursday morning, the “Justice for George Floyd” petition had been signed by more than 15,240,000 people, with dozens of new signatures arriving each minute.

“We are trying to reach the attention of Mayor Jacob Frey and DA Mike Freeman to beg to have the officers involved in this disgusting situation fired and for charges to be filed immediately,” the petition says. “Please help us get justice for George and his family!”

Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis on May 25. A video of the arrest posted online shows white police officer Derek Chauvin pressing Floyd's neck with his knee for more than eight minutes while Floyd was kept on his stomach in handcuffs, repeating that he could not breathe. He died shortly after.

The man's death sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racism. However, some protests have devolved into riots complete with looting and violence against police and civilians.

Amid the unrest, the county medical examiner ruled Floyd’s death a homicide, and four police officers have been charged in the killing.

14:00 GMT 04.06.2020

MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson should use his strong personal relationship with US President Donald Trump to intervene and make representations against police brutality after the death of an African-American male in the custody of United States law enforcement officers, Scottish lawmaker Ian Blackford said Thursday.

“The UK’s special relationship with the United States and your personal relationship with President Donald Trump means that it is imperative that you use your position to denounce the actions and rhetoric from the US administration and the brutality faced by the Black Lives Matters protesters,” Blackford, who is the Scottish National Party’s leader in the House of Commons, said in a letter to Johnson that was published on Twitter.

In the letter, Blackford asked the prime minister to clarify whether representations have been made to both Trump and the US government over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 and the subsequent protests and clashes between demonstrators and police.

The Scottish lawmaker also asked Johnson whether he would begin a review of the UK’s export of riot control equipment to the United States in the wake of the violence.

In response to similar questions raised in parliament on Wednesday, Johnson said that he was willing to look into any complaints into the misuse of UK-made riot control equipment in the United States, as protests against police brutality and racial inequality enter their second week after Floyd's death.

13:39 GMT 04.06.2020

MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - US Ambassador in Seoul Harry Harris on Thursday expressed his disagreement with people in South Korea who staged a protest against "US imperialism" in the wake of African American George Floyd’s death.

The recent police killing of an unarmed black man in the US state of Minnesota has triggered anti-racism protests not only in the US but also across the world. The black community in South Korea and their supporters plan to hold a solidarity rally online on Saturday.

Harris posted on Twitter a picture depicting a group of South Korean protesters carrying a banner that read "US Imperialism Means 'I Can't Breathe!'"


13:09 GMT 04.06.2020

MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - Humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is standing in solidarity with the black community in the US in their demand for action to tackle racism, the president of the board of directors for MSF-USA, Dr. Africa Stewart, said, opening up about what it means to be black in this country.

The statement comes as anti-racism protests keep gripping the US for over a week since the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old African American man.

"For me, this is personal. No matter how good I am as a doctor, mother, wife, and human being, I can instantly be reduced to one simple word: black—and be judged as that alone. I was taught to work twice as hard and be twice as strong, but it never adds up to being safe in my existence," Stewart said in a press release, posted late on Wednesday.

The recent high-profile killings of Floyd and other African Americans another time show "the deadly impact of racism against black people in the United States," the MSF official said. According to the doctor, it has become something "normal," and she personally, her family and black colleagues "live with some measure of fear and uncertainty every day."

Stewart went on to note that racism is also a "public health crisis," citing reports that the COVID-19 mortality rate among the Blacks more than doubles the relevant rate for the Whites.

The situation, she said, even forced MSF to launch temporary operations in the US amid the pandemic to "serve vulnerable communities with limited access to health care," even though it does not usually run humanitarian operations in the country.

"All of us at MSF-USA stand in solidarity with our black colleagues and the black community. We are committed to listening, learning, and taking action against racism. We all must do more to ensure that black lives and health are protected. Silence is violence—and I won’t be part of that. Black lives matter," she concluded.

Floyd died on May 25 after he was arrested by law enforcement officials in Minneapolis for allegedly using a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill to make a purchase in a store. One day later, a bystander’s video appeared online showing a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd’s neck while the latter was lying prone on the floor, already in handcuffs. Floyd later died in the hospital. The four police officers involved in the arrest were fired.

Following a huge backlash, Chauvin was arrested, with charges against him upgraded to second-degree murder. The rest three were also put in custody later and charged over the incident.

13:06 GMT 04.06.2020
11:02 GMT 04.06.2020

MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urged the US police on Thursday to stop targeting media workers who are covering the ongoing anti-racism rallies in the country and called for justice for the journalists who have been attacked at demonstrations.

Mass protests across the United States erupted against police brutality and racism starting on May 25, after George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old African American man, died in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis. Some protests have turned into violent riots that include arson and widespread looting.

"The number of videos of American police targeting and attacking journalists during the #BlackLivesMatter protests is stunning. This war on media freedom and journalists’ rights must stop and those who attack media workers must be held to account," the IFJ wrote on Twitter.

Among the attacked journalists was Russian correspondent Mikhail Turgiyev, who works for RIA Novosti, a part of the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency. On Sunday, Turgiyev was pepper-sprayed by the police while covering the civil unrest in the state of Minnesota, despite identifying himself as a member of the press.

Moreover, Nicole Roussell, a Sputnik journalist in Washington, said she was fired at by US police several times while covering the protests, despite saying several times she was a press staffer. As Roussell filmed protesters "being sprayed with mace in their eyes," she was shot at with a rubber bullet that hit her calf.

11:00 GMT 04.06.2020

MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - US multinational retail corporation Walmart has decided to stop selling firearms and ammunition in some stores across the United States as a precautionary measure in light of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in the country.

Mass protests across the United States erupted against police brutality and racism starting on May 25, after George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old African American man, died in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis. Some protests have turned into violent riots that include arson and widespread looting.

"As a responsible seller of hunting and sporting firearms, we have temporarily removed firearms and ammunition from the sales floor in some stores out of an abundance of caution," the company told CNN.

According to CNN, Walmart does not sell firearms in many areas where cases of looting were detected but decided to remove them from sales in the rest as a precaution.

10:13 GMT 04.06.2020

MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - Two police officers have been suspended after attacking two Australian journalists who were covering the George Floyd protests in Washington D.C., the US Park Police (USPP) said on Thursday.

On Monday, 7NEWS US correspondent Amelia Brace and cameraman Tim Myers were attacked by police officers during their coverage of riots near the White House in Washington. The next day, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called on the country's embassy in Washington to investigate the violent actions of US police officers toward the Australian journalists.

"As is consistent with our established practices and procedures, two U.S. Park Police officers have been assigned to administrative duties, while an investigation takes place regarding the incident with the Australian Press," the USPP wrote on Twitter.

Several similar incidents involving police violence against journalists covering the ongoing US riots have been reported over the week. Mikhail Turgiyev, a journalist with RIA Novosti, a branch of the Rossiya Segodnya Agency that also includes Sputnik, was pepper-sprayed in the face by police on Sunday, despite presenting his press card.

Mass protests across the United States erupted against police brutality and racism starting on May 25, after Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old African American man, died in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis. Some protests have turned into violent riots that include arson and widespread looting. The protests broke out after a video surfaced showing white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes before the detainee became unresponsive.

08:34 GMT 04.06.2020

A total of over 10,000 people have been arrested in protests against racism and police brutality that erupted across the United States in the wake of the death of an African American man, George Floyd, in police custody last month, the Associated Press (AP) news agency's tally revealed on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the number stood at 9,300.

According to the media outlet, arrests in the city of Los Angeles alone account for a quarter of all the arrests, followed by New York, Dallas and Philadelphia. Most of them were made for minor offenses, such as curfew violations.

Hundreds of people have also been arrested on charges of robbery and looting.

The news agency added that it did not include Wednesday's arrest reports.

08:33 GMT 04.06.2020

Three men who allegedly incited violence during anti-racism protests in the US city of Las Vegas have been arrested on terrorism charges, the US Attorney’s Office in District of Nevada said in a press release.

"... Three alleged members of the 'Boogaloo' movement — a term used by extremists to signify a coming civil war and/or collapse of society — have been charged with violations of federal and state law for conspiracy to cause destruction during protests in Las Vegas, and possession of an unregistered destructive device (specifically, an improvised incendiary device commonly known as a Molotov cocktail)," the statement issued on Wednesday read.

According to US Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich, the three men used peaceful demonstrations in Nevada, which erupted over African American man George Floyd's death in police custody, for their own radical agendas.

"Law enforcement is focused on keeping violence and destruction from interfering with free public expression and threatening lives," Trutanich said, as cited by the statement.

07:57 GMT 04.06.2020

The lead attorney for George Floyd's family, Benjamin Crump, has said that the family is relieved to see new charges against police officers involved in the case, but believes that they should have been arrested earlier.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has announced that charges against Derek Chauvin, a police officer involved in the fatal arrest, have been upgraded to second-degree murder, and that new charges have been filed against three other officers involved.

"Well, they [Floyd family] are relieved ... But we all believe that the officers should have been arrested on the first day after they offered no humanity to a man who was ... in handcuffs, and held the knee on his neck, kept two knees on his back that our autopsy found could press his lungs," Crump told MSNBC broadcaster.

One of the witnesses who was on the scene compared Floyd to a "fish out of water", Crump recalled.

"It was right to charge all of these officers ... for disobeying their oath," the attorney said, condemning police brutality.

The new second-degree murder charge alleges that there was an intent to kill, which could be punished by 40 years in prison. Commenting on this, Crump said that he and Floyd's family believe that all the officers involved should respond to "the full extent of the law, whatever that is."

"They treated him less than an animal. They should stay in prison for the rest of their lives," Crump said.

The attorney stressed that he had confidence in Ellison, even though "it is difficult to convict while police officers for killing black people in America."

07:41 GMT 04.06.2020

Police used tear gas to disperse crowds during overnight rallies in the US city of New Orleans in Louisiana state that erupted in the wake of the death of an African American man, George Floyd, in police custody last month, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) said on Thursday.

"The NOPD deployed teargas tonight to disperse protesters after the crowd refused to comply with three orders not to attempt to walk across the [Crescent City Connection] CCC," police posted on Twitter.

It added that the law enforcement officers were forced to use gas in response to "escalating, physical confrontation" with the police.

06:03 GMT 04.06.2020

Several thousand people took to the streets in central Stockholm to protest police brutality in the United States in light of the death of African American man George Floyd in police custody.

The rally was taking place on Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. local time at city's Sergels torg square, according to Swedish daily Aftonbladet. After that, participants of the demonstration divided into groups and went to different parts of the city. According to media reports, protesters clashed with the police at the T-Centralen metro station with the latter using pepper spray.

A small group of protesters tried to break through to the Royal Palace, but was stopped by mounted police. No arrests were reported.


04:48 GMT 04.06.2020

Officers were taken to a hospital with wounds that were not expected to be life-threatening, according to a police department statement.

04:36 GMT 04.06.2020
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