Washington: Protests across the US triggered by the May 25 death of African-American man George Floyd in police custody appeared to have turned into a nationwide movement as cities and towns saw an unprecedented outpouring of demonstrators demanding an end to racism.
Thousands of supporters of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, denouncing the alleged systemic racism in the US law enforcement, filled the streets of the big US cities of New York, Seattle, Washington, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and other smaller towns of Vidor in Texas, Havre in Montana, and Marion in Ohio on Saturday, reports Efe news.
In New York, slogans like “Whose streets? Our streets” echoed for hours as crowds streamed into Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, gathered near Central Park in Manhattan and Washington Square Park amid a downpour.
After the peaceful marches, some 20,000 people crossed the Brooklyn Bridge from Army Plaza to take part in different protests in Manhattan until the curfew that began at 8 p.m.
Some 5,000 people filled Washington Square, in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood, to listen to speeches by activists, denouncing police brutality and demanding police reforms.
At nightfall, police fenced the plaza and urged protesters to leave.
The protesters also remembered Floyd, the unarmed black man in Minneapolis who was allegedly killed by a police officer who kneeled on his neck, in a brutal incident caught on camera.
In Washington, protesters chanting “Black Lives Matter” took to the streets and gathered at several different points, including Capitol Hill and the Lincoln Memorial, before setting out on marches that converged near the vastly expanded security perimeter around the White House.
The crowd remained there for hours, singing and chanting the names of victims to demand structural change to end police violence against African-Americans, who are three times more likely than whites to die at the hands of cops, according to the website Mapping Police Violence.
Protesters raised their fists in the air, amid a much smaller and less aggressive police presence than earlier this week in the US capital.
In Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighbourhood, a peaceful protest turned tense after police ordered the crowd to disperse, sparking a clash that left several cops injured, police said.
Earlier in the day, thousands of healthcare workers organized a demonstration from Harborview Medical Center to Seattle City Hall that drew thousands.
Most of the protesters wore face masks, scrubs, and lab coats and carried placards that read “Black Health Matters” and “Racism Is a Public Health Emergency” as they marched to protest rampant racial injustice and a lack of police accountability in the US.
Protests also continued in several cities of Florida, including the one around the golf club of President Donald Trump in Miami-Dade.
Marches were also held in Hillsborough, Broward, and Palm Beach.
Hundreds of protesters shouted launched a tirade against Trump and shouted slogans like “Without Justice, there is no peace”.
In San Francisco, protesters forced a brief shutdown of the iconic Golden Gate bridge as thousands climbed its railings as two trucks stopped the traffic in both directions.
In Los Angeles, thousands took to the streets, including the one in Highland Park, calling for justice on the 12th consecutive day of a mobilization against police violence that has now extended to 650 cities in all 50 US states.