The Latest: Thousands join London protest over Floyd’s death

The Latest on the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck:

LONDON — Thousands gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to express their outrage over the death of a black American while in police custody in Minnesota.

Demonstrators clapped and waved placards as they offered support to U.S. demonstrators.

The crowd gathered despite government rules barring crowds because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is expanding a state of emergency to authorize the deployment of up to 3,000 National Guard troops to protests in cities across the state.

Kemp said he was prepared to send Guard soldiers to Athens, Savannah and any other Georgia cities where demonstrations were planned Sunday.

“Hopefully we don’t have to,” the Republican governor told WSB-TV late Saturday.

Kemp had already approved up to 1,500 Guardsmen to help enforce a 9 p.m. Saturday curfew in Atlanta.

Atlanta police said in a statement late Saturday they had made more than 50 arrests as protesters threw rocks at officers and broke windows in the downtown area. The curfew was imposed after demonstrations Friday night turned violent with people setting fires and smashing windows at businesses and restaurants.

“The protesters need to know we’re going to support their efforts in a peaceful, nonviolent protest,” Kemp said. “The agitators need to know that we’ll be there … to take them to jail if they’re destroying lives and property.”

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LA MESA, Calif. — The quaint downtown of suburban La Mesa near San Diego has suffered major damage with Chase and Union banks next door to each other burned to the ground.

Windows were smashed at many businesses, including a Goodwill store, a Sotheby’s real estate office and a popular bar.

San Diego police officers, aided by other law enforcement agencies, walked shoulder to shoulder through the streets after 2 a.m. Sunday, telling hundreds of protesters and observers that they would be arrested for unlawful assembly if they didn’t disperse.

The east San Diego suburb of 60,000 people borders El Cajon, where the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a police officer triggered days of major unrest in 2016.

The La Mesa protest that began peacefully Saturday afternoon and turned increasingly violent as night fell.

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FERGUSON, Mo. — Mostly peaceful protests took a turn late Saturday in Ferguson, Missouri, where police said at least six officers were injured after they were hit with rocks and fireworks.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that police used tear gas to disperse a large group of protesters who had set off fireworks inside Ferguson police headquarters.

Gov. Mike Parson activated the Missouri National Guard late Saturday.

Earlier in the day, Ferguson Police Chief Jason Armstrong spoke to a group of about 500 peaceful protesters about how Michael Brown Jr.’s death was a “wake-up call to law enforcement.” The 18-year-old Brown, who was black, was shot and killed by a white Ferguson police officer in 2014, sparking a wave of protests throughout the country.

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RICHMOND, Va. — Photos on social media show several fires throughout downtown Richmond overnight as protests in the Virginia capital continued.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the headquarters of the nearby United Daughters of the Confederacy burned early Sunday and was marked with graffiti. Several Confederate statues along the city’s Monument Avenue were defaced with graffiti.

The newspaper reports that an apartment building on a downtown street also caught fire, but protesters initially wouldn’t let fire crews through until police cleared the area with tear gas.

Protesters targeted police headquarters for the second night in a row as officers formed a barricade around the building.

A dumpster was set afire near the police headquarters, which had its front windows broken out Friday night. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the police fired tear gas to move crowds away from the building.

Several blocks away near Virginia Commonwealth University hundreds of protesters blocked streets chanting “George Floyd,” referring to the black man who died Monday after an arresting officer in Minneapolis pushed his knee into Floyd’s neck while he was on the ground handcuffed.

Media reports showed video of protesters hurling what appeared to be water bottles at a police car, which moved through the crowd and sped away. A police cruiser was burned in the violence on Friday night, along with a city bus.

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PHOENIX — Protesters marched the streets of downtown Phoenix and Tucson Saturday after the cities’ leaders implored them to refrain from violence.

The marches appeared to be largely peaceful, according to local media reports.

On Saturday night, however, Phoenix police had to defend the department’s headquarters. Shortly after 10 p.m., Phoenix police said a large group of protesters downtown had become an unlawful assembly, the Arizona Republic reported.

The police said they needed to disperse immediately. The protesters were seen kneeling with their hands up in the streets outside Phoenix police and municipal buildings, the Republic reported.

They chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “Black lives matter.”

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed has declared a citywide curfew for Sunday night as violent protests rage throughout the city in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

Breed says the curfew will last from 8 p.m. on Sunday to 5 a.m. on Monday.

The mayor says she has asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to put the California National Guard on standby.

Authorities say there have been increased levels of violence, crime, vandalism and assaults on police officers Saturday night as the protests took a dark turn.

Los Angeles is already under a citywide curfew overnight and the National Guard is en route to help police quell the violence.

Categories: AP National News