Looting obscures protests in New York and Trump demands a heavy hand

“West, to the West!” Shouts a boy who serves as an informal guide to one of the demonstrations in New York for the death of George Floyd. It is white, it is black, and it controls the movements from an old racing bicycle. He covers his face with something that is rarely seen these days: a scarf with the US flag on it. “There are police over there,” he explains to ABC about the change of course. Half an hour has passed since the curfew imposed at eight in the afternoon. The mayor, Bill de Blasio, put it forward three hours after several areas of Manhattan had been ransacked the day before.

The group stops right there and listens to a speech while kneeling on one knee, a gesture that American football player Colin Kaepernick initiated – it cost him his career – that divided the country – for some, it is an affront to the US Army. .UU.- and that with the widespread protests in all major American cities it aims to be normalized. These days the knee takes on a greater meaning: it was with which a police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed for almost nine minutes against the neck of Floyd, a black man, unarmed, handcuffed and held by two other policemen.

It is the corner of Broadway and 8th Street, in Greenwich Village, which was a part of Bohemian New York for much of the 20th century. As soon as the protesters raise their knees, a roar shakes the group of around three hundred people. A handful of kids have broken the windows of a GAP store. The windows jump, people flee everywhere, a looter escapes with a smile and a mannequin under his arm. The police arrive, the group gathers, the march continues.

That has been the keynote for Tuesday night’s protests in New York: mostly peaceful protests obscured by isolated acts of vandalism. Half a dozen protests, some impromptu, have meandered the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The curfew prevented the presence of protests, but the police are turning a blind eye if there are no incidents. The problem is that they happen. Later, another group have ripped the protective boards from a Zara store and have taken the clothes they could. Police have made a handful of arrests, adding to dozens for the rest of the day.

Later, the destruction, looting and confrontations with the police continued in other areas of South Manhattan. It is a reality – peaceful protests tinged with riots – that has been repeated in other large cities in the country, which continue the protests in the latest case of police abuse. There were concentrations in the capital, Washington; tear gas against protesters in Atlanta; protests in front of the house of the mayor, Eric Garcetti, in Los Angeles; riots in Milwaukee or Portland and reminders and tributes, one more night, to Floyd in Minneapolis.

But most of the attention went to New York, due to the high number of protesters and for being the main city in the country. Donald Trump, who grew up and made a career in the brick in the Big Apple, took the opportunity to focus his heavy-handed requests on what was his city. He criticized that the police were not being allowed to do “their magic” but that “because of the impulse they have been given to take over the radical left and others, they are going to need more help.”

Despite the fact that most of the protests are peaceful, the US President He assured that New York is “totally out of control”, that the mayor, Bill de Blasio, and the governor, Andrew Cuomo, must “end the riots now” and asked himself “when will they ask for help from the Federal Government”.

Protests and incidents have continued past midnight. A group of protesters was locked between two police barriers on the Manhattan Bridge and more looting and riots have been reported in an early morning that is once again very long. .

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