More than 100 people take part in Dublin demonstrations showing solidarity with US protests

People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest outside the US Embassy in Dublin. Picture: Damien Storan.

Around 150 people have taken part in two demonstrations in Dublin showing solidarity with the racial protests in the United States.

George Floyd, an unarmed black man died earlier this week in Minneapolis, after a police officer knelt on his neck while trying to arrest him.

It has sparked protests across the United States with curfews in place in many cities in the country.

Two protests have been held in Dublin today.

One took place outside the US Embassy in Ballsbridge and another took place in the Phoenix Park.

One protestor in Dublin said: “There needs to be systemic change, from the bottom up.”

Another added: “I don’t think everyone is out because of that one incident. It’s just the build up of it.”

In the US, another night of unrest has left charred and shattered landscapes in dozens of cities, as years of festering frustrations over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police boiled over in expressions of rage met with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Cars and businesses were torched, the words “I can’t breathe” were spray-painted all over buildings and a fire in a rubbish bin burned near the gates of the White House, as tens of thousands marched peacefully through city streets to protest against the death of George Floyd.

His death is one of a litany of racial tragedies that have thrown the US into chaos amid the coronavirus pandemic that has left millions out of work and killed more than 100,000 people, including disproportionate numbers of black people.

Washington protester Olga Hall said: “We’re sick of it. The cops are out of control. They’re wild. There’s just been too many dead boys.”

Earlier: George Floyd solidarity demonstrations organised for Dublin

People stand on top of a baseball backstop during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Los Angeles. Picture: AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu
People stand on top of a baseball backstop during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Los Angeles. Picture: AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

By By Press Association, with reporting by Digital Desk staff

Demonstrations are due to take place later in Dublin over the death of an unarmed black man in the United States earlier this week.

On Monday, George Floyd was pinned to the ground with a police officer's knee, prompting protests in Minneapolis, where it happened.

Two demonstrations in solidarity with protesters in the US will take place in Ballsbridge, and the Phoenix Park.

US protests heat up as governors call in National Guard

Governors in several US states called in National Guard troops as protests over police killings of black men intensified on Saturday.

Similar scenes of unrest unfolded across several cities from New York to Tulsa to Los Angeles, where police fired rubber bullets to scatter crowds and at least one police car burned.

The protests – which began in Minneapolis following Monday’s death of George Floyd during an arrest – have left parts of that city a grid of broken windows, burned-out buildings and ransacked stores.

In Washington, President Donald Trump sent tweets ridiculing protesters outside the White House who were among thousands nationwide incited by the death of Mr Floyd, who died after a policeman pressed his knee onto his neck for more than eight minutes.

The demonstrations have become a national phenomenon, with protesters decrying years of deaths at police hands.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District, the site of a 1921 massacre of black people that left some 300 dead, protesters blocked intersections and chanted the name of Terence Crutcher, a black man killed by a police officer in 2016.

Other peaceful protests were being held in California, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Protesters climb on a flipped over police vehicle in Salt Lake City (Rick Bowmer/AP)</figcaption>
Protesters climb on a flipped over police vehicle in Salt Lake City (Rick Bowmer/AP)

In Tulsa and Wilmington, Delaware, demonstrators made their way onto nearby interstates and shut them down temporarily.

In Tallahassee, Florida, a pickup truck drove through a crowd of protesters, sending some running and screaming as the vehicle stopped and started and at one point had a person on its hood, police said. No serious injuries were reported.

In Columbia, South Carolina, a television reporter for WIS-TV was injured by rocks thrown amid protests outside the Columbia Police Department.

Several hundred people participated in the demonstration, tearing down the American and state flags in front of the police department’s headquarters. They also swarmed a Columbia police car, breaking its windows, The State reported.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>People jump out of a window at a Starbucks store during a protest on Saturday in Philadelphia (Matt Rourke/AP)</figcaption>
People jump out of a window at a Starbucks store during a protest on Saturday in Philadelphia (Matt Rourke/AP)

In Los Angeles protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter,” some within inches of the face shields of officers.

Police used batons to move protesters back and shot rubber bullets to scatter the crowd. One man used a skateboard to attempt to break the windshield of a police SUV. A spray painted police car burned in the streets.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump fired off a series of tweets taunting protesters and praising the Secret Service, who used shields and pepper spray to push back people gathered to protest Mr Floyd’s death and the president’s response.

Mr Trump tweeted he had watched from inside the White House as officers “let the ‘protesters’ scream & rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone …. got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on them, hard – didn’t know what hit them”.

Mr Trump said if the protesters had managed to breach the White House fence, “they would … have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen”.

The US president ended the last of five tweets by saying, “Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz fully mobilized the state’s National Guard and promised a massive show of force to help quell unrest that has grown increasingly destructive.

“The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd,” Walz said. “It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.”

The Pentagon has ordered the US army to put military police units on alert to head to the city on short notice, at President Donald Trump’s request, insiders said.

The rare step came as the violence spread to other cities, with a man shot dead in Detroit, police cars attacked in Atlanta and skirmishes with officers in New York City.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Protesters hold signs as they march during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Chicago on Saturday (Nam Y. Huh/AP)</figcaption>
Protesters hold signs as they march during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Chicago on Saturday (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Criminal charges were filed on Friday morning against the white police officer who held his knee on the neck of Mr Floyd, a black man who was handcuffed at the time. However, this has done nothing to stem the widespread anger.

Derek Chauvin, 44, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin was also accused of ignoring another officer who expressed concerns about Mr Floyd as he pleaded that he could not breathe, while Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes.

Mr Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit twenty dollar note at a store.

Chauvin, who was fired along with three other officers who were at the scene, faces more than 12 years in prison if convicted of murder.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Philadelphia police restrain a man during the Justice for George Floyd Philadelphia Protest on Saturday (Matt Rourke/AP)</figcaption>
Philadelphia police restrain a man during the Justice for George Floyd Philadelphia Protest on Saturday (Matt Rourke/AP)

An attorney for Mr Floyd’s family welcomed the arrest, but said he expected a more serious murder charge, and wants the other officers arrested, too.

After a tumultuous Friday night, racially diverse crowds took to the streets again for mostly peaceful protests in dozens of cities on Saturday. The previous day’s protests had also started calmly before many descended into violence.

The massive crowds involved, with many people not wearing masks or practising social distancing, raised concerns among health experts about the potential for the spread of the coronavirus.

Hundreds of people were arrested Friday, and police used batons, rubber bullets and pepper spray to push back crowds in some cities.

Many departments reported officers were injured, while social media was awash in images of police using forceful tactics, throwing protesters to the ground, using bicycles as shields, and trampling a protester while on horseback.

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