Despite the curfews, protesters streamed back into the nation’s streets, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump pressed governors to put down the violence set off by George Floyd’s death and demanded that New York call up the National Guard to stop the “lowlifes and losers.”
Most protests passed peacefully, and while there were scattered reports of looting in New York City, the country appeared calmer by late Tuesday than it did a day earlier, when violence swept through multiple cities.
The president, meanwhile, amplified his hard-line calls from Monday, when he threatened to send in the military to restore order if governors didn’t do it.
“NYC, CALL UP THE NATIONAL GUARD,” he tweeted. “The lowlifes and losers are ripping you apart. Act fast!”
One day after a crackdown on peaceful protesters near the White House, thousands of demonstrators massed a block away from the presidential mansion, facing law enforcement personnel standing behind a black chain-link fence. The fence was put up overnight to block access to Lafayette Park, just across the street from the White House.
“Last night pushed me way over the edge,” said Jessica DeMaio, 40, of Washington, who attended a Floyd protest Tuesday for the first time. “Being here is better than being at home feeling helpless.”
The crowd remained in place after the city’s 7 p.m. curfew passed, defying warnings that the response from law enforcement could be even more forceful. But the protest lacked the tension of the previous nights’ demonstrations. The crowd Tuesday was peaceful, even polite. At one point, the crowd booed when a protester climbed a light post and took down a street sign. A chant went up: “Peaceful protest!”
Protests spread all across the U.S., including in Los Angeles, Miami, St. Paul, Minnesota, Columbia, South Carolina, and Houston, where the police chief talked to peaceful demonstrators, vowing reforms.
“God as my witness, change is coming,” Art Acevedo said. “And we’re going to do it the right way.”
In New York, midtown Manhattan was packed with battered storefronts after Monday’s protests. Macy’s flagship store was among those hit when crowds of people smashed windows and looted stores as they swept through the area. Police made nearly 700 arrests and Mayor Bill de Blasio extended an 8 p.m. curfew all week.
“We’re going to have a tough few days,” he warned, but added: “We’re going to beat it back.” He pleaded with community leaders to step forward and “create peace.”
Thousands of protesters marched Tuesday night in a string of demonstrations across Manhattan and Brooklyn after merchants boarded up their businesses, fearing a repeat of the night before. Many people remained on the streets after the curfew hour. Police eventually ordered them to move along and began taking some into custody.
More than 20,000 National Guard members have been called up in 29 states to deal with the violence. New York is not among them, and de Blasio has said he does not want the Guard. On Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo called what happened in the city “a disgrace.”
The mother of George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, said she wanted the world to know that her little girl lost a good father.
Chauvin has been charged with murder. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said prosecutors are working as fast as they can to determine if the three other officers at the scene should be charged too. All four have been fired.