While protesters were dispersed outside the White House with tear gas a few minutes earlier, Donald Trump spoke on Monday. The American president has stepped up to condemn the violent demonstrations which have been shaking the country for several days and the death of George Floyd. He spoke of acts of “internal terrorism” and called the actions of some protesters in Washington “shame” on Sunday.
He also announced the deployment of “thousands of heavily armed soldiers” and police in the capital and called on the governors to take the necessary decisions to “dominate the streets”. “If a city or state refuses to take the necessary decisions to defend the lives and property of its residents, I will deploy the US military to quickly resolve the problem for them,” said the billionaire. He then walked to Saint John Church, a nearby iconic building that was degraded on Sunday evening. The president went there on foot, surrounded by members of his cabinet, to be photographed there, a Bible in hand.
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Floyd on drugs during his arrest?
His speech should not ease tensions, as the report of an independent autopsy made public. The latter concluded that George Floyd had died of suffocation due to “strong and prolonged pressure,” said lawyer for the victim’s family on Monday, contradicting the results of the official autopsy. “Independent doctors who conducted an autopsy on Mr. Floyd on Sunday concluded that the death was the result of prolonged pressure asphyxia,” said lawyer Ben Crump. This prolonged pressure “on his neck cut off the blood flow to his brain and the pressure on his back hampered his ability to inflate his lungs,” he said. “The evidence supports asphyxiation as the cause of death and homicide as a circumstance of death,” Allecia Wilson, a forensic scientist at the University of Michigan, who was able to examine the body of a woman, said at a press conference. the victim.
This report joins that of the official forensic scientist, who also estimates that George Floyd died “by homicide” after having made a “cardiac arrest” because of the “pressure” exerted on his neck by the police officers. The victim was also drugged with fentanyl, a powerful opiate, added the medical examiner of the county of Hennepin in a statement. These results fall while many large American cities heal their wounds, Monday, June 1, and fear new eruptions of violence, a week after the homicide. The family’s lawyer has announced that George Floyd’s funeral, which is expected to be paid for by former boxer Floyd Mayweather, will take place on June 9 in Houston, his hometown where his family still lives. Several ceremonies in his memory are planned by then. A first commemoration will take place on Thursday afternoon in Minneapolis.
Donald Trump drives into a bunker
In Washington, after a night of chaos and the imposition of a curfew, the surroundings of the White House offered places of desolation: broken windows, burnt out garbage cans, tagged facades. The image of the famous building, seat of the American executive, plunged in darkness but surrounded by several voluntary lights, will mark the spirits. President Donald Trump was even rushed into a secure underground bunker overnight from Friday to Saturday.
From New York to Los Angeles, from Philadelphia to Seattle, tens or even hundreds of thousands of Americans demonstrated Saturday and Sunday against police brutality, racism and social inequality, exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis. The source of the anger was the homicide exactly a week ago of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, who during his arrest suffocated, handcuffed, under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer. This protest movement was mainly peaceful during the day, but also resulted in nightly fires, looting and large-scale destruction. Neither the dismissal of the agent guilty of the blunder, Derek Chauvin, nor his subsequent arrest have calmed the spirits, on the contrary: the protests have spread in at least 140 American cities.
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Faced with clashes mixing demonstrators, thugs and riot forces, National Guard soldiers were deployed in more than two dozen metropolises, in a climate of tension never seen before since the 1960s. A major security response that was accompanied the use of armored personnel carriers, the use of tear gas and rubber bullets. Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Cleveland, Dallas, Indianapolis: one by one the American cities have decided to impose a curfew on their inhabitants. New York City will also be under curfew starting Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced.
President Trump, faced with the most serious civil unrest in his term, castigated “anarchists”. On Monday, the Republican billionaire urged the governors of the federated states to stand firm, calling on them during a teleconference to “take over” the demonstrators. He accused his Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden, in November of working to get the troublemakers out of prison. The police have indeed carried out thousands of arrests. The Democrat, his face covered with a mask, went to him Monday in the church of a black parish in his state of Delaware to meet with local officials. The former vice-president of Barack Obama is counting on this electorate to win the White House. He will speak Tuesday from Philadelphia “on the civil unrest faced by residents across America,” said his campaign team.
Sunday evening, looting was reported in Philadelphia and New York, as well as in an upscale shopping center in Santa Monica, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Demonstrations have also taken place in Miami and New York in particular. “Black Lives Matter”, “I can’t breathe”, chanted the protesters.
Read also George Floyd: Obama pays tribute to him and calls for change
“We have black children, black brothers, black friends, we don’t want them to die. We are tired of repeating this generation, this generation will not give up. We have had enough of oppression, “Muna Abdi, a 31-year-old black protester in Saint-Paul, told Agence France-Presse. Donald Trump denounced the actions of the radical anti-fascist movement, which he announced he wanted to list as a terrorist organization.
The emotion has crossed the borders of the United States. Six-time British world champion Lewis Hamilton denounced the silence of the “biggest stars” of Formula 1, a world “dominated by whites”. Footballers in Europe have shown solidarity, as striker Marcus Thuram, son of 1998 French world champion Lilian Thuram, who knelt down on Sunday, a move popularized in 2016 by American football player Colin Kaepernick to protest against police violence against minorities.
Demonstrations against police brutality and racism in the United States also took place over the weekend in Great Britain, Germany or Canada and Monday in New Zealand. US rivals around the world have not missed the opportunity to criticize Washington. China, with which tensions have increased since the election of Donald Trump, denounced the “chronic disease” of racism in the United States. Tehran, a sworn enemy of Washington, for its part denounced the “oppression” of the American people and called on the American police to “stop the violence” against the population and to “let them breathe”.