US protests live: hundreds of thousands march against racial injustice – as it happened

Last modified: 05: 35 AM GMT+0

That’s it from us tonight. The Guardian will continue live coverage tomorrow morning.


  • Protests carried on across in the nation, in one of the most massive mobilizations since the police killing of George Floyd sparked nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and systematic racism.
  • More than 10,000 people took to the streets in Washington, DC, and in Philadelphia, the crowd radiated for blocks from the city’s art museum. In Atlanta, protesters danced and in Denver, marchers were joined by a brass band. In San Francisco, demonstrators flooded onto the Golden Gate bridge.
  • Although Seattle blocked the use of teargas, officers deployed OC gas and flashbang grenades on protestors. The use of such crowd control tactics have been criticized by public health officials, who warn that chemical weapons and smoke bombs can exacerbate the spread of coronavirus.
  • In Richmond, Virginia, demonstrators tore down the statue of a Confederate general. The state’s governor agreed this week to begin removing Confederate monuments from the capital.
  • The top editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer has resigned following an uproar over the headline, “Buildings matter too”. The tone-deaf headline sparked a public protest among staff. The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh has also filed a grievance after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pulled two African American journalists from its coverage of this week’s protests because they were seen as biased for being Black.
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was booed after telling protesters he did not support defunding the police. Activists around the country are calling on officials to defund law enforcement — in DC, demonstrators even painted “Defund the police” onto a street near the White House.
  • The two Buffalo police officers who were suspended after being captured on video shoving a 75-year-old protester in recent demonstrations, prompting the mass resignation of the department’s entire emergency response team, have been charged with assault. But their colleagues have stood by them, cheering the accused as they left the courthouse after being charged.


Artists across the nation have been creating murals on boarded up business.

Like this in Portland, Oregon:

A week ago, this was an Apple store. Now it’s an evolving memorial mural. #PortlandProtests

— Sarah Mirk (@sarahmirk) June 7, 2020

And these in Oakland:

Day 9 of Oakland #GeorgeFloyd protest: Oakland, you are so beautiful.

— Sarah Belle Lin (@SarahBelleLin) June 7, 2020


George Floyd’s younger brother Philonise will testify before Congress next week in a hearing on law enforcement reform, the Washington Post reports.

Floyd is expected to testify on Wednesday morning before the House Judiciary Committee, a committee spokeswoman told the Post.

Floyd has also had a phone call with Trump, who he said “didn’t give me an opportunity to even speak.”

“It was hard. I was trying to talk to him, but he just kept, like, pushing me off, like ‘I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about,” Floyd told MSNBC last weekend. “And I just told him, I want justice. I said that I couldn’t believe that they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight.”


Demonstrators in Richmond, Virginia have pulled down a statue of Confederate general William Carter Wickham.

BREAKING: Demonstrators pull down William Carter Wickham statue in Monroe Park in #rva @CBS6

— Matthew Fultz CBS 6 (@matthewfultztv) June 7, 2020

Earlier this week, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that the state would begin clearing Confederate structures from Richmond, including a towering monument to Robert E. Lee.


Nearly 1,300 medical providers and public health experts have signed a petition this week calling for police to stop using the chemical agents — not just teargas, but also smoke bombs, pepper spray — over concerns that it will exacerbate the spread of coronavirus.

On Friday, Seattle’s mayor announced a 30-day moratorium on the use of teargas during protests after an outcry. But pepper spray, like tear gas, is a lachrymatory agent that causes tears, saliva and mucus to stream from demonstrators’ eyes and noses,

Because coronavirus spreads through droplets of mucus and spit that people launch into the air when they cough, sneeze, breathe and talk, teargas and other irritants that cause people to choke, hack and rip off their face masks will help the virus proliferate, according to Dr Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease physician who helped draft the petition.

Gas and pepper sprays also cause tears, saliva and mucus to stream from demonstrators’ eyes and noses, said Chin-Hong. “And it’ll cause people to shout and scream, propelling droplets of these fluids – which could be carrying coronavirus – and giving them superpowers, to spread much farther than six feet.”

In Seattle, police are using flashbangs and pepper spray against protesters, according to footage captured by a reporter for the Seattle Times.

The city banned the use of tear gas yesterday — but it seems officers have found a workaround.

Police are setting off flash bangs at the protest on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. The police chief yesterday announced a ban tear gas, but officers are using pepper spray to move the crowds.

— Paige Cornwell (@pgcornwell) June 7, 2020

Lots of coughing. This all started because the crowd wouldn’t back up five feet

— Chase Burns (@chaseburnsy) June 7, 2020


Across the nation today, protesters called on officials to “defund the police”. Activists who have long fought to cut law enforcement budgets say they are seeing an unprecedented wave of support for their ideas, with some elected officials for the first time proposing budget reductions and divestments from police. Here’s what we know about the movement, and how cities and states are responding.

What does it mean to ‘defund the police’?

For years, community groups have advocated for defunding law enforcement – taking money away from police and prisons – and reinvesting those funds in services. The basic principle is that government budgets and “public safety” spending should prioritize housing, employment, community health, education and other vital programs, instead of police officers. Advocates argue that defunding is the best way forward since attempts to reform police practices over the last five years have failed, as evidenced by the brutal killing of George Floyd. Groups have a range of demands, with some seeking modest reductions and others viewing full defunding as a step toward abolishing contemporary police services.

How much does America currently spend on police?

In the past four decades, the cost of policing in the US has tripled and is now $115bn, according to a recent analysis. That steady increase comes as crime has been consistently declining. In most cities, spending on police is significantly greater than spending on services and other departments ($1.8bn on police in Los Angeles, for example, which is more than half the city’s general fund). The Covid-19 economic crisis has led cities and states to make drastic budget cuts to education, youth programs, arts and culture, parks, libraries, housing services and more. But police budgets have grown or gone largely untouched – until pressure from protests this week


In Buffalo, where two officers were charged with the assault of a 75-year-old man amid protests, demonstrators have defied curfew and and returned to the city’s Niagra square for another night of rallying against police brutality.

Chants of “‘F’ the curfew” as persistent demonstrators return to Niagara Square after another march.

— WBEN NewsRadio 930AM (@NewsRadio930) June 7, 2020

Police officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski were charged and released without bail today. A crowd of off-duty officers, firefighters and others gathered outside the courthouse in a show of support for accused.

Here’s a sweet moment from earlier today, in Philadelphia:

A marriage took place just now at a protest in Philadelphia

— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) June 6, 2020

The city of brotherly love saw one of the biggest showings of protesters yet, with crowds stretching across blocks and blocks around the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Hi there, it’s Maanvi Singh, blogging from the West Coast (and taking over from my colleague Bryan Graham in the east).

First, let’s check in on the nation’s capital, where more than 10,000 people poured into the streets, gathered near Lafayette Square by the White House, marching down U Street’s historic Black Broadway, coalesced at the feet of Abraham Lincoln giant marble memorial.

Donald Trump, who remained fortified behind the two miles of newly erected fencing surrounding the White House, tweeted: “Much smaller crowd in D.C. than anticipated. National Guard, Secret Service, and DC Police have been doing a fantastic job.”

Of course, DC saw one of the most massive mobilizations of protesters since demonstrations began nearly two weeks ago. And today, there were markedly fewer tanks and heavily armed federal officers around the city – following widespread outcry over the presence of militarized law enforcement over the past week.


More than 140 scientists funded by Mark Zuckerberg have said Facebook should not be letting US president Donald Trump use the social media platform to “spread both misinformation and incendiary statements”.

The researchers, which include more than 60 professors at leading US research institutions and one Nobel laureate, sent the Facebook CEO a letter on Saturday asking him to “consider stricter policies on misinformation and incendiary language that harms people” and decrying the “deliberate misinformation and divisive language” as counter to the scientists’ broader goals of eradicating disease.

Dear Mark,

We are a group of concerned scientists currently or previously funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) or the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.

Social media platforms, like Facebook, have emerged as primary ways of communicating information. While they have allowed dissemination of information across the globe, they also facilitate the spread of misinformation. The spread of news that is not vetted for factual accuracy leads to confusion and a mistrust of experts. Indeed, Facebook acknowledges this in their own user policies. Thus, like many, we were disconcerted to see that Facebook has not followed their own policies in regards to President Trump, who has used the Facebook platform to spread both misinformation and incendiary statements. For example, his statement “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” is a clear statement of inciting violence.

As scientists, we are dedicated to investigating ways to better our world. We are proud to be CZI awardees and to help realize CZI’s mission, which is to “use technology to help solve some of our toughest challenges — from preventing and eradicating disease, to improving learning experiences for kids, to reforming the criminal justice system” and “to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone.” The spread of deliberate misinformation and divisive language is directly antithetical to this goal and we are therefore deeply concerned at the stance Facebook has taken.

We urge you to consider stricter policies on misinformation and incendiary language that harms people or groups of people, especially in our current climate that is grappling with racial injustice.

The two Buffalo police officers who were suspended after being captured on video shoving a 75-year-old protester in recent demonstrations, prompting the mass resignation of the department’s entire emergency response team, have been charged with assault.

Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, who surrendered Saturday morning, pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault. They were released without bail.

As hundreds of thousands march across the country, police in numerous US cities have faced condemnation for their crackdowns on demonstrations, including punching, kicking, teargassing, pepper-spraying and driving vehicles at often peaceful protesters.

McCabe, 32, and Torgalski, 39, “crossed a line” when they shoved the man down hard enough for him to fall backward and hit his head on the sidewalk, said John Flynn, the Erie county district attorney, at a news conference, calling the victim “a harmless 75-year-old man” .

The officers had been suspended without pay Friday after a TV crew captured the confrontation the night before. If convicted of the felony assault charge, they face up to seven years in prison.

Police officers in Buffalo, however, have stood by their colleagues. On Saturday a crowd of off-duty officers, firefighters and others gathered outside the courthouse in a show of support for the accused officers and cheered when they were released.

“It was tremendous, tremendous to see,” John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, told WIVB-TV. “I just think it’s a strong indication of the outrage, basically, over this travesty.”

The top editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer has resigned following an uproar over a headline bemoaning property damage incurred during the ongoing protests decrying police brutality and racial injustice, the newspaper has announced.

Philadelphia Inquirer

The paper said Stan Wischnowski, 58, was stepping down as senior vice president and executive editor after apologizing on Wednesday for the “horribly wrong” decision to use the headline, “Buildings Matter, Too”, on a column Tuesday suggested an equivalence between the loss of buildings and the lives of black Americans.

The tone-deaf headline prompted a public denouncement from staff. Features reporter Brandon Bell wrote on Twitter that he was calling in “sick and tired” to work on Thursday. Some 30 members, out of a staff of about 210, skipped work for the same reason, a spokesman said.

Bell was among those who distributed an open letter of protest, saying African American journalists were tired of careless mistakes that make it harder to do their jobs and, at worst, put lives at risk.

“We’re tired of shouldering the burden of dragging this 200-year-old institution kicking and screaming into a more equitable age,” the letter read. “We’re tired of being told to show both sides of issues there are no two sides of.”


Guardian US reporter Nina Lakhani reports from Harlem:

Hundreds of people prayed and protested in Harlem this afternoon, in a peaceful and hopeful mobilization characterized by dignity, anger, resistance, and determination.

“Get off our necks,” and “racism is America’s original sin,” were among the hard-hitting truths chanted by protesters as they marched uptown from the National Black Theatre, a historical and cultural landmark situated on the corner of 5th Avenue and West 125th Street. Pastors and other faith leaders gave rousing speeches outside the theatre and other iconic spots including the Schomburg Centre for research in black culture – an internationally renowned archive for information on people of African descent which is located on the corner of Lennox Avenue and West 135th Street.

Jacquelyn Martell, 33, one of the organizers of today’s protest, said: “Harlem is extremely significant when it comes to talking about the disproportionate impact on black and brown communities of so many things for example Covid-19 and police surveillance, but part of this movement is to bring communities together and ammeliorate divisions brought forth by systemic racism and bring some healing as well.”

Today’s event, like New York, was multicultural, invigorating and hopeful.

Harlem protests
Demonstrators in protest of police brutality gathered in Harlem on Saturday afternoon. Photograph: Nina Lakhani

Thousands of demonstrators filled the streets in San Francisco, Sacramento, Simi Valley, San Diego, Los Angeles and elsewhere across California on Saturday as the protest matches over the killing of George Floyd continued into their second week.

California protests
Several thousand protesters chanting “No justice, no peace”, marched from downtown Santa Barbara to Stearns Wharf at the ocean, where they took a knee and observed eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence for George Floyd on Saturday. Photograph: PJ Heller/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

According to the Associated Press:

  • In Los Angeles, protesters organized by Refuse Fascism LA took over Hollywood Boulevard, chanting “Revolution, nothing less!”
  • In San Diego, more than 3,000 people marched downtown and faced off with officers guarding police headquarters, while a caravan of 300 cars moved past the state university there.
  • In Simi Valley, a protest drawing several thousand demonstrators spilled onto the street and stopped traffic on a major road through the suburban town northwest of Los Angeles. It was there that four white Los Angeles police officers were found not guilty of beating motorist Rodney King, sparking riots in 1992.

Roderick Sweeney, 49, who is black, said he was overwhelmed to see the large turnout of white protesters waving signs that said “Black Lives Matter” during a demonstration on San Francisco’s famed Golden Gate Bridge, the AP reported.

“We’ve had discussions in our family and among friends that nothing is going to change until our white brothers and sisters voice their opinion,” he said. The large turnout of white protesters “is sending a powerful message. You can see protests are happening around this world, and so I’m hoping change will happen.”

Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser delivered a resounding message to Donald Trump with her endorsement of a sprawling Black Lives Matter mural on the pavement of 16th Street near the White House in the city’s downtown.

“We want to call attention today to making sure our nation is more fair and more just, and that black lives and that black humanity matter in our nation,” Bowser told NBC Washington.

US satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies has released satellite images of the mural – and the full impact is striking.

Black Lives Matter mural
A photo made available by Maxar Technologies shows a satellite image of ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted on the pavement near the White House. Photograph: Maxar Technologies Handout/EPA

A ninth straight day of protests over the killing of George Floyd and the broader issue of racism and police brutality is under way in Seattle, with thousands of doctors, nurses and others in lab coasts and scrubs leading the way on a march to City Hall.

Sam Sen, a software engineer originally from Jordan, was one of the estimated 7,000 people who attended the medical workers’ march, which has grown in size throughout the day according to the Seattle Times.

“I show up almost every day,“ he told the newspaper. “It’s been amazing! It shows how closely tied the community is, everybody’s got everybody’s back. I see all kinds of colors, backgrounds, sexual orientations. I’ve lived on Capitol Hill for 11 years, and this just makes me love this city even more.”

Seattle protests
Healthcare workers and others march to Seattle’s City Hall during the Doctors For Justice event on Saturday. Photograph: David Ryder/Getty Images

He added: “When things escalate, it’s usually from the police. ... The other day they used tear gas. Punished everyone here because of one asshole who threw a water bottle.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan and police chief Carmen Best have imposed a 30-day ban on the department’s use of one kind of tear gas after authorities were widely criticized for using the chemical deterrent to disperse of mostly peaceful crowds last week.

Other department policies for crowd control, including the use of chokeholds and pepper spray, will be reviewed by the city’s police accountability groups, according to local media reports.

Seattle City councilperson Kshama Sawant issued a statement on Saturday calling for Durkan’s resignation, describing her as responsible for “violence and brutality” in the city’s response to “overwhelmingly peaceful” demonstrations.

Guardian US reporter Jessica Glenza checks in from the ground in Jersey City:

Thousands of people have gathered in Jersey City, New Jersey, in one of the city’s largest protests in recent memory.

Demonstrators are chanting the names of people killed by police in recent weeks, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as “no justice, no peace”, on a hot and sunny afternoon in New Jersey’s second-most populous city located right across the river from Manhattan.

Jersey City police are not wearing riot gear and a peaceful vibe has prevailed with people handing out water and snacks and nearly the entire crowd wearing face masks and practicing social distancing as much as possible.

Several apartment buildings have banners unfurled from upper floors reading “black lives matter”.

Jersey City protests
A demonstrator carries a sign during a protest against police brutality on Saturday in Jersey City, New Jersey. Photograph: Jessica Glenza

The protests in Atlanta have entered their ninth day with mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms having officially lifted the citywide 8pm curfew after Friday night’s demonstrations ended with no arrests (and national guardsmen even dancing the Macarena alongside protestors).

Atlanta protests
Protesters march through the streets on the way to City Hall on Saturday in Atlanta. Photograph: Steve Schaefer/AP

Saturday’s events have been scattered throughout numerous locations across the metro area and downtown, including City Hall, the Centennial Olympic Park and police headquarters.

The curfew was first implemented by city officials after last weekend’s peaceful demonstrations took a violent turn on Friday night, prompting Atlanta’s police chief to say: “Whether it’s by police or other individuals, the reality is we’ve diminished the value on their life.”

Denver Broncos march for George Floyd

Players and staff members for the NFL’s Denver Broncos took part in a rally over the death of George Floyd, marching from the state capitol and gathering in Civic Center park downtown.

Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos led a rally in Civic Center park on Saturday. Photograph: David Zalubowski/AP

“Your voice is heavy, and it matters,” fifth-year safety Justin Simmons said. “Why does it matter? For the same reasons you tell and ask each and every one of these athletes to your sons, to your daughters about what it takes to make it professionally, right? It’s that level of equal ground of ‘he’s an athlete, my son’s an athlete, my daughter’s an athlete. I need you to explain to them what it takes.

“We as a black community need our white brothers and sisters to explain to the rest of the white brothers and sisters out there what it means for ‘black lives matter.’”

Justin Simmons with a powerful message (1/2). #Broncos @CBSDenver

— Michael Spencer (@MichaelCBS4) June 6, 2020

The march comes one day after the Jacksonville Jaguars marched from their home stadium to the steps of the local sheriff’s department in protest of inequality, joining an unprecedented groundswell that’s brought together some of the NFL’s biggest stars.


The protests are gathering numbers across the country today, but one protester who spoke to CNN in Washington DC sounded a cautious note about how much would change following the recent demonstrations.

Demonstrators gather in Washington DC on Saturday
Demonstrators gather in Washington DC on Saturday. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

“It is something that has to be solved through legislation, through new precedents being set in the legal system, and social change so people’s mindsets change so we don’t keep fostering the sense of... underlying racial bias in the country. It cannot be solved with a couple marches,” Olivia Butler said.

Donald Trump’s approval rating has taken a hit over the last few weeks due to his response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the protests following the death of George Floyd. But the Guardian’s Simon Tisdall cautions against the view that Trump’s chances of reelection have been dealt a fatal blow.

Revived fury over racial injustice may galvanise the black vote – a crucial 12.5% of the electorate – against the president. In 2016, black turnout declined for the first time in 20 years.

Biden’s appeal among African-Americans, demonstrated in the primaries, could reverse that trend and provide winning margins in swing states. Among all voters, Biden’s current lead is 11%.

Yet Trump has been written off before. He has the advantage of incumbency and an enormous war chest. He plays dirty. By autumn, the economy may have revived, and the pandemic subsided. And gaffe-prone Biden carries much baggage.

The protests may have scared as many Middle America voters as they energised. Nobody knows how Trump’s Nixonian appeals to the “silent majority” and “law and order” will play in Peoria.

One thing is certain: he’s a long way from beaten.

You can read the full article here:

Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, has urged people who have attended demonstrations in the city to be tested for Covid-19 after concerns over the virus spreading in the packed crowds.

Protesters attend a demonstration for healthworkers in Seattle
Protesters attend a demonstration for healthworkers in Seattle. Photograph: David Ryder/Getty Images

“Over the last week, residents across Seattle have been gathering to build community and share their anger and frustration about the killing of George Floyd and injustices against black Americans, here in Seattle and across the country. While I believe everyone should exercise their right and speak out, we must also remember we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” Durkan said in the statement.

Noa Yachot is on the ground at a march in New York City:

Thousands marched across the Brooklyn Bridge toward Manhattan’s City Hall on Saturday afternoon in a peaceful protest that began two miles away.

Demonstrators take a knee during a protest against racial inequality in Brooklyn
Demonstrators take a knee during a protest against racial inequality in Brooklyn. Photograph: Jeenah Moon/Reuters

The march to the bridge blocked traffic on Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn’s main artery, but was met with motorists honking in support along the way. The route was dotted with mutual aid activists passing out masks, bottled water, and granola bars.

Protesters head across the Brooklyn bridge toward City Hall. They chanted “where’s your mask” in the direction of a group of cops, only one of whom wore a mask.

— Noa Yachot (@NoaYachot) June 6, 2020

Police largely kept their distance from the crowd. Additional protests throughout the city are planned in multiple locations throughout the day.

Washington DC’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, has spoken at one of the protests in the city. She said she had “pushed the Army away from our city” after she called on Donald Trump to withdraw thousands of national guard soldiers and federal law enforcement officers from the capital on Friday.

Demonstrators walk through Washington DC on Saturday
Demonstrators walk through Washington DC on Saturday. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

She also spoke about her young daughter. “I want to grow up in a country where she is not scared to go to the grocery store, not scared to go to work,” she said. “Where she can grow up in an America where she can be a senator in the 51st state, Washington DC.”

She finished her speech by talking about telling the crowd to vote against the president in November’s elections. “Today we say no. In November, we say next,” she said.

About 100 people have gathered for a demonstration outside Donald Trump’s golf course near Miami.

In Doral, several dozen folks gathered across Trump National Doral to protest police brutality & the president. Song playing is Joe Arroyo’s “Rebelion,” which is about an African slave in Cartagena, Colombia, defending his wife after their owner hit her.

— Joey Flechas 🏝 (@joeflech) June 6, 2020

Latinos For Black Lives Matter organized the protest and people carried signs with slogans such as “Don’t Be A Bunker Boy”, a reference to reports the president retreated to a bunker while protests were underway in Washington DC.

A larger demonstration is expected for Miami later on Saturday.

Police officers in Buffalo have applauded two of their colleagues who were arraigned in court on Saturday on charges of assault. Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe were charged with assaulting a 75-year-old during a protest in the city earlier this week. The man was shown bleeding after striking his head as he fell following a confrontation with the two officers.

Buffalo police officers applauded by their colleagues as they leave the courthouse

— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) June 6, 2020

Torgalski and Robert McCabe both pled not guilty to the assault charges on Saturday and will return to court in July.

Torgalski and McCabe have both been suspended over the incident, which was viewed millions of times on social media. Buffalo police initially said the man had tripped during a confrontation but the city’s mayor later condemned the incident.

“After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, Police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening,” Byron Brown said. “I hope to continue to build on the progress we have achieved as we work together to address racial injustice and inequity in the City of Buffalo.”

The district attorney in Queens, New York, says she will not prosecute anyone arrested for breaking curfew or social distancing measures during protests.

We are proud to be a united front on this issue. Queens DA Katz is committed to reforms in the name of #SocialJustice and has declined to prosecute based on curfew and social distancing violations.

— Queens District Attorney Katz (@QueensDAKatz) June 6, 2020

“We are proud to be a united front on this issue. Queens DA Katz is committed to reforms in the name of #SocialJustice and has declined to prosecute based on curfew and social distancing violations,” Katz wrote on Twitter. Her counterpart in Manhattan, Cyrus Vance, is pursuing a similar policy.

More video from huge protests in Philadelphia:

Thousands of people in Philadelphia continue to protest racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd. Crowds in Center City stretched from the steps of the Art Museum and past the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) June 6, 2020

And Chicago:

The protest is now heading east on Division Street — Podhalanka, a local Polish restaurant, is showing visible support to protesters @wttw #news #ChicagoProtests #chicagoprotest #GeorgeFloydprotest

— Evan Garcia (@EvanRGarcia) June 6, 2020

And a big one in Chicago.

— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) June 6, 2020

The curfew in Philadelphia for 8pm remains in place, by the way.

In New York, thousands of people have marched from outside the National Black Theatre on 5th Avenue in Harlem up Lennox Avenue to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture about a mile away. The crowd have gathered outside the Center chanting George Floyd and Black Lives Matter.

Beautiful peaceful march up Lennox Avenue #ProtestHarlem #BlackLivesMatter

— Nina Lakhani (@ninalakhani) June 6, 2020

The crowd is mostly young and entirely peaceful although police helicopters hover above.

Protests in Washington D.C. are beginning to swell. Demonstrations have started on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, outside the White House and throughout downtown DC. The city closed off certain roads from vehicles in anticipation of huge crowds throughout the sweltering summer day.

Downtown Washington is one giant protest zone right now, crisscrossed with a multitude of marches—some organized, others the result of an on-the-spot call to walk.

Thousands are moving through Foggy Bottom chanting “prosecute the police” and unswayed by the summer-like heat.

— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) June 6, 2020

Powerful messages on signs as protesters make their way near the White House

— Thomas Novelly (@TomNovelly) June 6, 2020

A Lincoln Memorial rally heard emotional speeches from local organizers who named victims of police violence in the DC region.

“Black and brown Americans have been trapped in a vicious cycle of fear, mistrust, self-loathing, murder, mistreatment, underrepresentation, and more.”

— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) June 6, 2020

DC has been the site of police violently cracking down on protesters who have demonstrated outside of the White House nearly every day. DC mayor Muriel Bowser has asked Donald Trump to remove federal troops and forces out of the city, saying that the protests have largely been peaceful and additional police presence could cause alarm.

A California artist, along with 300 helpers, painted the words “Black Lives Matter” on strips of lawn that lead to the state’s capitol building in Sacramento.

The same words were also painted on a street that leads to the White House yesterday in Washington DC.

Sacramento has been the site of daily, largely peaceful protests. On Friday, hundreds of protesters held a “die-in” outside the mayors’ outside demanding changes to the police department.


San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who is a long-time critic of Donald Trump and an advocate for civil rights in the US, has given his thoughts on the civil unrest of the last few weeks.

Popovich, who has won five NBA titles with the Spurs, said he believes the “country is in trouble” as he discussed the death of George Floyd.

“In a strange, counterintuitive sort of way, the best teaching moment of this most-recent tragedy, I think, was the look on the officer’s face [during Floyd’s death],” Popovich said in a video published by the Spurs. “For white people to see how nonchalant, how casual, just how everyday going about his job, so much so that he could just put his left hand in his pocket, wriggle his knee around a little bit to teach this person some sort of a lesson – and that it was his right and his duty to do it, in his mind.

“I don’t know ... I think I’m just embarrassed as a white person to know that that can happen. To actually watch a lynching. We’ve all seen books, and you look in the books and you see black people hanging off of trees. And you ... are amazed. But we just saw it again. I never thought I’d see that, with my own eyes, in real time.”

“It’s got to be us that speak truth to power, that call it out no matter the consequences. We have to not let anything go. Our country is in trouble and the basic reason is race.”#SpursVoices

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) June 6, 2020

Popovich added that it the onus was on white people to solve the scourge of racism in the United States.

“We have to do it. Black people have been shouldering this burden for 400 years,” Popovich said. “The only reason this nation has made the progress it has is because of the persistence, patience and effort of black people. The history of our nation from the very beginning in many ways was a lie, and we continue to this day, mostly black and brown people, to try to make that lie a truth so that it is no longer a lie. And those rights and privileges are enjoyed by people of color, just like we enjoy them. So it’s got to be us, in my opinion, that speak truth to power, and call it out, no matter what the consequences. We have to speak. We have to not let anything go.”

Surfers off Rockaway Beach in New York paddled out into the Atlantic today in solidarity with protesters across the country demonstrating against police brutality.

They sent NYPD boats to monitor the surfer paddle out in the Rockaways IN THE OCEAN this morning. Did they think people were going to loot sand?

— Tim Donnelly (@timdonnelly) June 6, 2020

Two NYPD patrol boats soon showed up to check out the crowd as the surfers chanted “Black lives matter”.


Donald Trump’s campaign has sent out an email to the president’s supporters asking them to sign a petition against people who disrespect the American flag. Here’s what they wrote:

Our beautiful American Flag should be respected and anyone who thinks otherwise is simply UN-AMERICAN! President Trump wants to send the left a message that protesting the American Flag is absolutely unacceptable, but he can’t do it without you.

He’s calling on YOU to step up. He wants to know who had his back during this time, so we’re sending him a list of supporters who publicly sign their name to stand with him and our flag.

This is presumably in response to the NFL apologizing on Friday to its players for clamping down against anti-racism protests - most notably that of Colin Kaepernick - in the past. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees also apologized for criticizing anthem protests last week before reversing his comments. Trump said Brees had nothing to be sorry for on Friday - and Brees disagreed. He wrote in a message addressed to Trump on Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

“To @realdonaldtrump. Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been,” Brees wrote. “We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.”


Adam Gabbatt has looked at how the protests against police brutality have attracted more cases of police brutality:

The nationwide anti-police brutality protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in the US have been marked by widespread incidents of police violence, including punching, kicking, gassing, pepper-spraying and driving vehicles at often peaceful protesters in states across the country.

The actions have left thousands of protesters in jail and injured many others, leaving some with life-threatening injuries.

From Minnesota to New York, Texas, California, Washington DC and many places beyond, from small towns to big cities, police officers have demonstrated just how problematic law enforcement is in the US, drawing condemnation from international groups as well as domestic civil rights organizations.

The International Crisis Group, which monitors unrest around the world, said the police had used “excessive force”. The UN high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, said: “All police officers who resort to excessive use of force should be charged and convicted for the crimes committed.”

Numerous incidents of police violence have been exposed in disturbing videos and press accounts in recent days, with little sign that police are adjusting their tactics.

New York City alone has seen numerous incidents. On Saturday 30 May, officers in a police SUV drove at a crowd of protesters in Brooklyn, knocking several to the ground. A day earlier, a police officer was caught on camera violently shoving a woman to the ground during a demonstration. The woman, Dounya Zayer, was taken to hospital and said she suffered a seizure and concussion.

You can read the full story below:

An additional 1,800 members of the national guard have been called up in response to the protests and Covid-19 pandemic across America, bringing the total to 43,340.

Today, more than 43,300 National Guard members in 34 states and D.C. are assisting law enforcement authorities with ongoing civil unrest, while more than 37,000 Guard Soldiers and Airmen continue to support the COVID-19 response.

— National Guard (@USNationalGuard) June 6, 2020

“Today, more than 43,300 National Guard members in 34 states and DC are assisting law enforcement authorities with ongoing civil unrest, while more than 37,000 Guard Soldiers and Airmen continue to support the Covid-19 response,” the national guard wrote in a tweet.

Members of the public are attending a memorial service for George Floyd in Fayetteville, near where he was born in North Carolina. Hundreds of people are expected to file into a local church to view his casket before a service for family later in the day.

Motorcyclists are driving by the George Floyd memorial on Raeford Road.

— RachaelRiley (@RachaelRiley85) June 6, 2020

A group on horseback and another on motorcycles staged drive pasts in tribute to Floyd, who was killed last month by police in Minnesota.

A boy raises a fist as a group of bikers arrive to pay their respects to George Floyd
A boy raises a fist as a group of bikers arrive to pay their respects to George Floyd. Photograph: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images

“The bigotry against somebody just because of who they are and the color of their skin, because if they’re women or a person of color ... we have to stop the hatred and bigotry,” one mourner, Dan Matthews, told the Fayetteville Observer, adding he had driven four hours to attend the service. “We all have so much to offer in this world and I think people can only reach their full potential when society lets people be equal, and that’s what we’re fighting for.”

Protests have already started in Washington DC. More than a dozen separate demonstrations are expected in the capital today, with tens of thousands of people expected to take part. Much of the city’s downtown has been closed to traffic in anticipation of the crowds.

Katie Williams, right, poses for a photo with her son Benjamin and husband, Kyle, at a protest near the White House on Saturday
Katie Williams, right, poses for a photo with her son Benjamin and husband, Kyle, at a protest near the White House on Saturday. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

“The kids wanted to make a difference. The fact that they are kids of color, I didn’t just want them to witness history, I wanted them to be a part of history,” Shanise Hamilton, who was attending one protest along with a number of children in her family, told the Washington Post.

Children attend a protest in Washington DC on Saturday
Children attend a protest in Washington DC on Saturday. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Protests are planned in cities across America on Saturday, from New York City to Los Angeles.


Texas’ Republican governor Gregg Abbott has condemned four of his party’s state chairs for spreading baseless conspiracy theories that George Floyd’s killing was fabricated in order to hurt Donald Trump’s presidency. The Texas Tribune has now identified seven more Texas Republican chairs that have spread such theories. Some promoted the trope that George Soros is helping fund the protest movement across the country.

Lynne Teinert, the GOP chairperson for Shackelford County, told the Tribune her comments had been “mostly a joke”. Meanwhile, Cindy Weatherby, the Republican chairperson of Reagan County, shared a post asking 21 “puzzling questions” over Floyd’s death such as “Why did the kneeling officer appear completely cool and calm, as if he was posing for the camera?”.

Weatherby told the Tribune she did not believe Floyd’s death was staged but added that if “humans don’t question, there’s something wrong with us.”

County chairs are elected officials whose duties include things such as overseeing local elections. “This is a disgusting level of ignorance that’s hard to hear from anyone, much less an elected official,” Texas congresswoman Donna Howard told the Tribune. “I’m glad to see Republican state leaders finally start to push back against this nonsense and look forward to a day when we can actually debate fact-based policy instead of constantly refuting conspiracies.”

Cuomo says Friday’s protests in New York were “mainly peaceful”. He adds that the protesters “want an America as good as its promise” a quote from the civil rights activist Barbara Jordan.

“New York will lead the way on this change,” he says. “There’s talk and there’s action. We have a moment when we can make the change.” He says that the state will enact four policies: a transparency of prior disciplinary records for officers; no chokeholds by police officers; prohibiting false race-based 911 reports and making them a crime; and designating the attorney general as independent prosecutor for police murders.


New York governor Andrew Cuomo is giving his daily press briefing. He says 35 people died of Covid-19 in the state over the last 24 hours, the lowest number in weeks in a state that has seen nearly 25,000 die from the virus.

Two members Buffalo police officers have pleaded not guilty to assault after video emerged of them pushing a 75-year-old to the ground during protests over the death of George Floyd. The man was shown bleeding after striking his head as he fell.

Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe were arraigned in a Buffalo court on Saturday and both pled not guilty. They will be back in court on 20 July.

Torgalski and McCabe have both been suspended over the incident, which was viewed millions of times on social media. Buffalo police initially said the man had tripped during a confrontation but the city’s mayor later condemned the incident.

“After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, Police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening,” Byron Brown said. “I hope to continue to build on the progress we have achieved as we work together to address racial injustice and inequity in the City of Buffalo.”

Meanwhile, in New York City, two police officers have been suspended over incidents with protesters last week. In the first, a woman was pushed to the ground during a demonstration outside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, in the second an officer pulled down a man’s facemask and pepper sprayed him.

2 officers were just suspended without pay for misconduct during protests and a supervisor reassigned. All 3 now face further disciplinary action. More investigations are underway.

New Yorkers deserve accountability. We can’t have trust between police and community without it.

— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 6, 2020

“The actions by these officers stand apart from the restrained work of the thousands of police officers who have worked tirelessly to protect those who are peacefully protesting and keep all New Yorkers safe,” NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea said in the statement.

With Washington DC expecting its biggest march on Saturday since the start of the protests, Lauren Aratani has looked at how the city’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, has emerged as an opponent of one of her city’s residents, Donald Trump:

Though it has been home to many Republican presidents, Washington DC has historically elected Democratic African American mayors to lead the city. The city has a population of about 700,000 people; African Americans represent about 46%.

It is not just the provocative paint-job that Bowser has taken a stand on. She has denounced bringing in the military to quash protests in the city, calling on Trump to withdraw the thousands of national guard soldiers and federal law enforcement officers who have descended into the capital, including a unit that wore no identification. The protests in Washington have largely been peaceful, local police say.

“Because of our lack of statehood, the federal government can encroach on our city streets in the name of protecting federal assets,” Bowser told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday.

Bowser got in a spat with Trump on Thursday when she had members of the Utah national guard, who were deployed to Washington for the protests, removed from their hotel downtown. The mayor clarified that members of that guard unit were staying in hotel rooms paid for by the city via a contract, and were meant for national guard members who were deployed for the Covid-19 response.

You can read the full story here:

The sheriff of Hoke county, where today’s memorial service for George Floyd will take place, has spoken to CNN about the difficulties of being a black law enforcement official while protests against racial injustice and police brutality take place across the country.

“We’re [being] questioned from the black community: How can you be a part of all this mess,” said Hubert Peterkin.

Peterkin added that Floyd’s family had reached out to ask him to help in arranging Saturday’s service.

“I didn’t know how Bridget, the sister, was going to receive me as a law enforcement person,” he said. “There are people who are mad with law enforcement, who’ve never had an incident. Or they just don’t like what’s going on and they should not like what’s going on. But when I walked in front of this woman, and that family, and they embraced me like they did, and hugged me and said thank you. It was tears. I can’t express the feeling. I left there that day saying, wow, you know, that means there’s some hope.”

Mike Pompeo attacks China's 'obscene propaganda' over George Floyd

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has attacked China’s “obscene propaganda” over the killing of George Floyd.

In a statement released on Saturday, Pompeo criticized “the Chinese Communist Party’s callous exploitation of the tragic death of George Floyd to justify its denial of basic human dignity exposes its true colors yet again.”

SecState Mike Pompeo lashes out over China’s use of the George Floyd death in its propaganda:

— Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) June 6, 2020

Pompeo said there was a stark contrast between the way China and the US treat their own citizens. “In China, when doctors and journalists warn of the dangers of a new disease the [Chinese Communist Party] silences and disappears them ... in the United States, we value life and transparent systems.”

Some may argue Pompeo’s boss does not exactly value those transparent systems and the press holding the government to account.


There will be a public memorial service for George Floyd today in Fayetteville, North Carolina, close to where he was born. Members of the public will be able to view Floyd’s casket between 11am and 1pm at a local church before a private service for family later in the day. Mourners will be allowed in 10 at a time, and will be asked to wear masks.

There will be another memorial for Floyd in Houston, where he spent much of his life. Many members of his extended family still live in North Carolina and will attend today’s service.

On Friday night, hundreds of people marched down Fayetteville’s Main Street to mark the killing of Floyd by police in Minnesota. “This is important to do because this is something that is ongoing,” LaToya Gordon of Hoke County Peacemakers, a group that organized the march, told the Fayetteville Observer. “Everybody felt that we wanted people to know that we can be peaceful and be heard.”

The Charlotte Observer has details of the scenes in the town as people start to gather for the memorial:

People set up chairs along the busy highway as police dogs scanned the conference-center parking lot. Vendors set up across the highway, giving out Black Lives Matter buttons and selling Floyd shirts that read, “I can’t breathe.”

Gregg Packer took an overnight train from Long Island in New York, arriving in Fayetteville at 3 a.m.

“I felt like I needed to come down here to support the protests and the family of George Floyd,” he said, placing an emphasis on the slain man’s name. “I hope that we can all get along with each other, that we can start treating each other the way we all should.”

Some locals found meaning in a global event arriving at their door, feeling compelled to represent their corner of the world.

“With Fayetteville being a small town, it’s a military town but it’s still small, and Raeford is even smaller,” said Gracie Howard. “All eyes being on this community, it’s opened up a lot of eyes to racial injustice. This has been going on too long. And George, he changed the world.”

The NFL, which has willingly acquiesced to Donald Trump’s opposition to peaceful protesting since Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, changed tack last night. The league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, put out a statement admitting the league had been wrong not to listen to its players’ opposition to racism (although, significantly, Goodell did not mention Kaepernick, who has been effectively exiled from the league).

Melissa Jacobs has written on the significance of Goodell’s statement:

Goodell hardly deserves a parade for his change of tone. After all, his NFL is the one that tossed aside its moral compass and turned its back on Kaepernick four years ago and every day since. Goodell’s statement would have been far more powerful had he mentioned Kaepernick by name. Either way, the NFL’s banishment of Kaepernick is a permanent stain on the NFL. Nothing can change that now.

Goodell’s statement was not proactive but reactive to a litany of players who drew a line in the sand. But it was quick and decisive and achieved the unthinkable: The NFL gave Donald Trump the middle finger. It finally detached itself from Trump and his crazy, dangerous strategy of exploiting the flag and national anthem to suppress and demonize peaceful protest.

You can read the full article below:


The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh has filed a grievance after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pulled an African American reporter from its coverage of this week’s protests because they believed she lacked objectivity.

In a tweet that went viral, Alexis Johnson compared the looting that has taken place at some protests over the police killing of George Floyd to the damage caused by fans at a concert by country singer Kenny Chesney.

Horrifying scenes and aftermath from selfish LOOTERS who don’t care about this city!!!!!

.... oh wait sorry. No, these are pictures from a Kenny Chesney concert tailgate. Whoops.

— Alexis Johnson (@alexisjreports) May 31, 2020

Members of the Pittsburgh guild subsequently sent identical versions of Johnson’s tweet along with the hashtag #IStandWithAlexis.

“We feel taking a black woman off the most monumental national story about civil rights in the last 50 years is punishment,” the guild’s president, Michael A Fuoco, told the Associated Press. “We have very few black journalists. Someone who has the contacts and the insights for this story, that is what you want.”

The Post-Gazette is yet to comment on the matter.

On Friday, Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto praised Johnson’s reporting. “I have first account knowledge of her reporting,” he wrote on Twitter. “She has been fair in questioning all sides. She has been critical of me & our administration- when it was necessary. Most importantly, she has been professional in journalistic accepted practices & integrity.”

Okay. Now I'm crying 😭😭😭 thank you @PGNewsGuild for going to bat for me. Thank you everyone for your support and your words of encouragement, your actions. I am just ... wow. Thank you ♥️

— Alexis Johnson (@alexisjreports) June 5, 2020

Johnson said on Friday she has been touched by the support she has received. “Okay. Now I’m crying thank you @PGNewsGuild for going to bat for me,” she wrote. “Thank you everyone for your support and your words of encouragement, your actions. I am just ... wow. Thank you.”


General Charles Q Brown Jr, a nominee to become the US Air Force’s first-ever black service chief, has posted a video to Twitter talking about his experiences as an African American military member.

"As the Commander of Pacific Air Forces, a senior leader in our Air Force, and an African-American, many of you may be wondering what I’m thinking about the current events surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd. Here’s what I’m thinking about..." - Gen. CQ Brown, Jr.

— PACAF (@PACAF) June 5, 2020

“I’m thinking about how full I am with emotion, not just for George Floyd, but the many African Americans who have suffered the same fate as George Floyd. I’m thinking about protests in my country ... The equality expressed in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that I’ve sworn my adult life to protect and defend,” he said. “I’m thinking … about my own experiences, that didn’t always sing of liberty and equality. I’m thinking about living in two worlds, each with their own perspective and views.”

Brown logged 130 combat hours as a fighter pilot but said he had to work harder than others in the Air Force to prove himself. “I’m thinking about the pressure that I felt to perform error free, especially for supervisors that I perceived expected less of me as an African American,” he said. “I’m thinking about having to represent, to work twice as hard, to prove that their perceptions of African Americans were invalid.”

A report last week detailed racial disparities in the Air Force’s justice system. Brown talked in the video how he hopes he can change the service if he is appointed as the service’s new head.

“I’m thinking about how my nomination provides some hope but also comes with a heavy burden,” he said. “I can’t fix centuries of racism in our country, nor can I fix decades of discrimination that may have affected members of our Air Force.”

Reports last week indicated the US attorney general, William Barr, had ordered law enforcement to use gas and horses to clear a group of peaceful protesters who had gathered near the White House so that Donald Trump could hold a photo opportunity outside a local church. Now Barr, like so many Trump allies, is in damage limitation mode and says he did not personally issue any such command – even if he agreed with it.

“I’m not involved in giving tactical commands like that,” Barr told the Associated Press on Friday. “I was frustrated and I was also worried that as the crowd grew, it was going to be harder and harder to do. So my attitude was get it done, but I didn’t say, ‘Go do it.’

Guardian columnist Lloyd Green has had a deeper look at Barr, and his influence in Trump’s administration:

Where Trump has been a bumbling, self-interested and ideologically erratic leader – a weak man’s strongmanBarr is smart, dedicated and disciplined. He understands how to wield power and holds a consistent worldview. He’s an aggressive advocate for executive power and the police – who happens to be America’s top law enforcement officer at the same time as unrest roils the country.

You can read the full article here:

I’m handing over to my colleague Tom Lutz in New York now, thank you to everyone for reading along and sending in your comments and suggestions.

Guardian US reporter Kenya Evelyn explains why the unrest sparked by the police killing of George Floyd could be a defining moment for racial politics in America, and how the coronavirus pandemic set the backdrop for the protests.

Thousands turn out for protests in London

Despite warnings from the government to avoid mass gatherings due to Covid-19 restrictions, Parliament Square in London is already full of protesters today.

Other protests are planned for around the country, including in Manchester, Leicester, Sheffield and Newcastle Upon Tyne.

The home secretary, Priti Patel, urged people not to join the Black Lives Matter protests because “we must put public health first at this particular time”. She said:

I completely understand people’s desire to express their views and have that right to protest, but the fact of the matter is we are in a health pandemic.

I’d say that those who want to protest, please don’t.

Thousands of anti-racism protesters already braving the drizzle on Parliament Square to defy calls from ministers and police chiefs to avoid mass gatherings #BlackLivesMatter #BLMLDN

— Mattha Busby (@matthabusby) June 6, 2020

Videos have shown hundreds of protesters kneeling in silence - a gesture used to protest against police brutality and racism.

London BLM protestors kneel. This is huge.

— Hasan Patel 🌹 (@CorbynistaTeen) June 6, 2020

Meanwhile, some people are handing out free personal protective equipment (PPE) to demonstrators - hand sanitiser, gloves and masks.

This group are handing out free PPE to protesters arriving at Parliament Square (hand sanitiser, gloves and masks). But as you can see, all social distancing has gone out of the window @LBC

— Rachael Venables (@rachaelvenables) June 6, 2020


With a knee to his neck and head against the concrete, George Floyd became the face of one of the largest uprisings in modern American history. His final moments at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers was replayed on social media and television all across a country that was already in crisis.

America is in economic free fall as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And it is black Americans who have been disproportionately impacted by mounting deaths and crushing job losses, making up a disproportionate number of the 42 million people left unemployed.

Black Americans, already subjected to generations of systemic racism, were now more likely to die from the coronavirus and also faced losing their jobs in higher numbers as a result of record unemployment.

George Floyd, then, was no exception.

State medical examiners confirmed this week that Floyd had contracted the coronavirus by late-April. He had also lost his job. But that didn’t cause his death.

Instead, Floyd died from what historian Carol Anderson called “the longest ongoing saga in American history”.

In Paris, police have banned a protest planned for Saturday, citing the risk of spreading Covid-19 and fears of public unrest.

The police decree noted that social distancing regulations ban gatherings of more than 10 people.

Preparing for the eventuality that protesters would ignore the ban, French police sealed off roads around the US Embassy early on Saturday.

The British government urged people not to gather in large numbers and police have warned that mass demonstrations could be unlawful.

Though the demonstrations, such as one planned for Saturday on Parliament Square in central London, have not been banned directly, they could fall foul of lockdown restrictions.

In England, gatherings of more than six people are not permitted. That restriction didn’t stop thousands gathering on Wednesday in a largely peaceful protest in central London over Floyd’s death.

“The reason that it is vital that people stick to the rules this weekend is to protect themselves and their family from this horrific disease”, British health secretary, Matt Hancock, said.

“So please, for the safety of your loved ones, do not attend large gatherings including demonstrations of more than six people.”

In Berlin, where a Black Lives Matter rally was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, police said several store windows were smashed overnight and walls were painted with slogans referring to George Floyd’s death.

Donald Trump promised on Twitter this week that “the United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization”.

Legal experts immediately threw cold water on the proposal, arguing that there may be no means by which any domestic entity can be designated in this way.

But, perhaps more importantly, experts also say that there is no actual antifa organization for Trump to define in this way. Put simply: antifa does not really exist as a distinct entity.

Teargas and pepper spray will accelerate spread of Covid-19, doctors warn

Doctors, nurses and disease experts have warned that dousing crowds with teargas and pepper spray will accelerate the spread of coronavirus as mass demonstrations against police brutality rage on.

A protester has her eyes washed after being exposed to teargas in Minneapolis.
A protester has her eyes washed after being exposed to teargas in Minneapolis. Photograph: John Minchillo/AP

Nearly 1,300 medical providers and public health experts have signed a petition this week calling for police to stop using the chemical agents, amid scenes of law enforcement officers launching plumes of chemical irritants and smoke to subdue demonstrators in Minneapolis, Philadelphia, New York and many other American cities.

Because coronavirus spreads through droplets of mucus and spit that people launch into the air when they cough, sneeze, breathe and talk, teargas and other irritants that cause people to choke, hack and rip off their face masks will help the virus proliferate, according to Dr Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease physician who helped draft the petition.

For 8 minutes and 46 seconds - the length of time it took George Floyd, an unarmed black man, to die at the hands of Minneapolis police - cable TV kids channel Nickelodeon’s screen went black on Tuesday to sounds of inhaling and exhaling, as white text flashed “I can’t breathe.”

Pokemon pledged $100,000 in support for Black Lives Matter.

Sesame Street is co-hosting a televised town hall meeting with CNN on Saturday morning.

These are just a few of the examples of how companies that entertain or sell products for kids are adjusting their messages, as they attempt to deal with this moment in American history and explain the complexities of racism and police brutality to children through action and words.

“It’s one thing to try to preserve the innocence of children, but you shouldn’t preserve the ignorance of children in a country that is multiracial that has this bad history,” CNN commentator Van Jones told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

Jones and CNN anchor Erica Hill will host an hour-long special on CNN titled Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism in partnership with Sesame Street. The show aims to teach school-aged children how to identify inequality and speak out against it.

Join @Elmo & friends tomorrow for a CNN Town Hall to help kids & families discuss racism & the protests taking place nationwide. Watch live tomorrow on @CNN, @cnni, @CNNEE, CNNgo or for free. Available after on CNNgo, On Demand and

— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) June 5, 2020

Experts said parents need help interpreting for children the relentless barrage of messages on social media and on television as peaceful protesters and looters clash with authorities all across the country.

“I have seen a spike in anxiety for my black kid clients because they are having access to the news,” said Javonte’ Bass, a clinical mental health counselor. “When the parents are watching, they’re listening.”

Fear of catching the coronavirus forced families indoors. Fear of dying at the hands of police are keeping kids from going back out, Bass said. One nine-year-old black child even asked Bass, “Am I going to get shot, too?”

On CNN’s event, Jones said viewers should not expect a historical rundown of slavery and colonialism in the United States. The show will urge parents to teach their children empathy. “Failing to teach kids about empathy and fairness is always harmful,” Jones said.

Guardian reporters in the US and around the world reflect on a week of profound unrest – and, possibly, change.

Chris McGreal, Guardian US reporter, in Minneapolis

This has been by far the most serious unrest I’ve covered in the US.

I was in Ferguson six years ago where the protests looked more dramatic on the television than they actually were, with a few buildings looted and burned, and confrontations with the police a staged nightly ritual over the same few blocks.

Minneapolis was on a different scale, both in the depth of anger and the levels of protest and destruction. Many thousands turned out to lay siege to the police station in the precinct where George Floyd was killed before they stormed and burned it.

Aamna Mohdin, Guardian reporter, in London

The killing of George Floyd took place thousands of miles from the UK, but the anger and pain that sparked mass protests in the US has resonated deeply across the Atlantic.

Last weekend, protests sprung up sporadically in Cardiff, London, Manchester, and Nottingham to state clearly that “Black Lives Matter” in the UK as well.

The protesters, the vast majority of whom were under 30, chanted: “No justice, no peace, no racist police” and “the UK is not innocent”, in a demonstration that was largely organised through word of mouth and social media away from established anti-racism groups.

Teenagers, who said they had grown up with videos of black people dying on their timelines, shouted: “Enough is enough.”

Julian Borger, world affairs editor, in Washington DC

There were different currents inside the crowds outside the White House. The great majority were there for a protest, but there were small groups weaving in and out looking break and burn things.

In similar situations of civil unrest I have witnessed elsewhere in the world, there was a sense that being a journalist with credentials around your neck afforded some personal protection.

Journalists in the melee outside the White House knew that wasn’t true here. Reporters have been targeted all over the country. It was an unnerving feeling, that a line had been crossed in the relations between the police and press.

It seemed to me that the “enemy of the people” rhetoric of the president had been internalised. I think it will be hard to change that back.

On Tuesday 9 June at 7pm BST (2pm EDT) the Guardian is holding a live-streamed event about the meaning of George Floyd’s killing, featuring Guardian journalists including US southern bureau chief Oliver Laughland, reporter Kenya Evelyn, writer Chris McGreal and columnist Malaika Jabali.

Book tickets here.

False social media rumors about so-called antifa activists traveling en masse into rural areas of America have led rightwing vigilantes to carry out armed patrols of small cities and towns in the western United States and beyond.

In some cases, local activists planning peaceful protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and in protest at the killing of George Floyd have been inundated with death threats.

Since Donald Trump tweeted recently that antifa would be declared a terrorist group, the term has gained broader currency on the American right and is seen as a dire threat. In fact, it simply means “anti-fascist” and is used to describe a wide spectrum of leftist and anarchist groups and individuals. It has no existence as a separate organization.

The FBI has said there is “no evidence” of antifa involvement in violence linked to the Floyd protests and NBC News has reported one supposed antifa group posting violent rhetoric on the internet was in fact linked to white supremacists.

But in the Idaho city of Coeur d’Alene, groups of 30-50 men armed with semi-automatic weapons have occupied downtown streets on successive evenings this week, guarding against supposed busloads of radical leftists rumored to traveling from cities such as Spokane or Seattle, according to local residents and social media materials obtained by the Guardian.

“We are not counter-protesters, we’re just going to make sure Coeur d’Alene is safe,” said Conrad Nelsen of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as he holds a flag while standing next to armed citizen Dan Carson, left, during a protest on Tuesday.
“We are not counter-protesters, we’re just going to make sure Coeur d’Alene is safe,” said Conrad Nelsen of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as he holds a flag while standing next to armed citizen Dan Carson, left, during a protest on Tuesday. Photograph: Kathy Plonka/AP

Videos posted to social media by supporters of the vigilante groups showed dozens of people walking up and down a downtown shopping strip, with many open-carrying AR-15s and other semi-automatic long guns, and sporting tactical apparel.

Police spray protesters with pepper spray in Sydney

Reports coming in of police spraying protesters with pepper spray and at least one arrest after a demonstration in Sydney, Australia.

Tens of thousands of people marched through Australian cities and towns for Black Lives Matter protests on Saturday, defying an attempt from the police to ban one demonstration through the courts.

In a dramatic turn of events, a massive crowd in Sydney learned just as they were gathering outside the city’s Town Hall that the New South Wales court of appeal had ruled their rally was now lawful.

They were drawing attention to racial profiling, police brutality and the more than 400 Indigenous people who have died in police custody since a royal commission into the problem was held in 1991.

In Sydney, there were some ugly scenes when police officers used pepper spray on protesters who had flowed into Central station after the rally finished.

Some protesters were visibly hurt by the spray, with eyes streaming, and there were accusations that the remaining crowd had been forced together into a small space in the station and unable to move.

Police spraying protesters with pepper spray inside Central Station after a Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney on Saturday, June 6, 2020.
Police spraying protesters with pepper spray inside Central station after a Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney on Saturday, June 6, 2020. Photograph: James Gourley/AAP
A protestor is treated for the effects of pepper spray.
A protestor is treated for the effects of pepper spray. Photograph: James Gourley/EPA

One journalist who was at the scene in Central station filmed the incident, showing what looks like a man being arrested and some physical altercations between police and protesters, while people chant “black lives matter” in the background.

Police just made a super rough arrest at Central. The main exit is blocked. #blacklivesmatteraustralia

— Zac Crellin (@zacrellin) June 6, 2020


At least 20,000 people marched in Sydney for the ‘Stop All Black Deaths in Custody’ rally, which was declared an authorised public assembly minutes before its scheduled start time of 3pm, after a court ruling was overturned.

Thousands of protesters rallied in cities and towns across Australia to march against Indigenous deaths in custody and the killing of George Floyd.


Today so far

Hi, welcome to our US politics live blog which will be following the Black Lives Matter protests across the world sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis 12 days ago.

I’m Jessica Murray, I’ll be steering the blog for the next few hours - feel free to get in touch via email ( or via Twitter (@journojess_)

Protesters are expected to gather in Washington for a huge demonstration on Saturday.

“We have a lot of public, open source information to suggest that the event on this upcoming Saturday may be one of the largest we’ve ever had in the city,” Washington DC police chief Peter Newsham said.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper has ordered that all flags at state facilities be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday in honor of Floyd, who was originally from the state’s Fayetteville city. A televised memorial service will also be held in the city.

Here is a quick recap of the latest developments in the last day or so:

  • On Friday, marches and gatherings took place in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Miami, New York and Denver, among other places, while protesters massed again, in the rain, in front of the White House. The night-time protests were largely peaceful but tension remains high even as authorities in several places take steps to reform police procedures.
  • A federal judge in Denver ordered city police to stop using tear gas, plastic bullets and other “less-than-lethal” devices such as flash grenades, with his ruling citing examples of protesters and journalists being injured by police.
  • In Minneapolis, Democratic city leaders voted to end the use of knee restraints and choke-holds, where pressure is applied to the neck, while California governor Gavin Newsom said he would end state police training of carotid restraints similar to the technique used on Floyd.
  • Black Lives Matter activists have called for cities to defund police departments. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat who in April proposed increasing law enforcement funding, this week reversed course and said he would seek some $150m in cuts to the LA Police Department.
  • National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell said the league had made mistakes in not listening to players. The NFL has been locked in a debate with players over kneeling protests during the playing of the national anthem.
  • Two police officers in Buffalo, New York, were suspended without pay on Thursday and placed under investigation after a video showed them shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground. But the decision was met with pushback from the officers’ colleagues, with all 57 members of the police tactical unit quitting in protest at their treatment.
  • Finally, the protests have now spread right across the globe with people in Australia, Japan and South Korea all taking to the streets in solidarity with those in the US and to call out issues of systemic racism in their own countries.



Maanvi Singh (now) and Bryan Armen Graham, Tom Lutz and Jessica Murray (earlier)

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