Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of major US cities on Tuesday for an eighth consecutive night of protests over the death of an unarmed black man in police custody.
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Los Angeles, as well as Washington, DC to protest against last week's killing in Minneapolis of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white policeman.
Protesters in New York marched from Foley Square to Washington Square Park and Union Square chanting "no justice, no peace".
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Most of them wore masks and some, including Chenele Shaw, handed out water and snacks to their fellow demonstrators. Shaw described a mood of solidarity amongst the protesters: "It has been too much for too long. We've seen black men and women being killed by racist police. We need to keep the police accountable, because we're tired," she said.
Floyd's death has reignited the explosive issue of police brutality against African Americans five months before the November presidential election but many protesters said the marches were also about systemic racism.
Fanta Fortune, 42, wore a mask with "401 years of injustice" written on it. "America has to clean up its system, so that it's fair for all of us, especially the ones who helped build this country," Fortune said.
She added that the protests were about more than police brutality and that she hoped that they were a sign that the civil rights movement was reawakening.
Derrick Smith, a nurse anesthetist at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, echoed her sentiments, saying that all Americans should speak out against systemic racism. Smith said that the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted deep-rooted injustices: "Covid disproportionately affects black people, same with police violence, it's all part of the public health crisis and we're here to do something about it now."
New York City has imposed a curfew from 8pm to 5am from Tuesday through Sunday, following several nights of riots and looting in cities across the country. There were more than 700 arrests in New York on Monday night as looters targeted businesses across the city, including the flagship Macys department store in midtown Manhattan.
“We saw stuff last night that we will not accept,” said New Yorks Democratic Mayor Bill De Blasio at a press briefing on Tuesday, highlighting incidents of rioters attacking police officers.
As the curfew fell, thousands of chanting and cheering protesters marched from the Barclays Center down Flatbush towards the Brooklyn Bridge as police helicopters whirred overheard.
A crowd, gathered at an entrance to the Manhattan Bridge roadway, chanted at riot police: “Walk with us! Walk with us."
Police in riot helmets, far fewer than on previous nights, watched at a distance from the sidewalk as cars honked rhythmically in support.
Construction workers boarding up the windows of stores showed their solidarity with protesters by using their tools to beat a rhythm to the demonstrators' chants.
On Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, hundreds of people filled the street from curb to curb, marching past famous landmarks of the film centre. Others gathered outside Los Angeles Police Department headquarters downtown, in some cases hugging and shaking hands with a line of officers outside.
Most Americans sympathise
A majority of Americans sympathise with the protests, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.