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Riots have broken out across America in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who was shown on video gasping for breath as a white Minneapolis policeman knelt on his neck. The 46-year-old, who had worked security for Minneapolis nightclubs, had been suspected of trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes on Monday evening. The handcuffed man died after the white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, as Floyd is seen begging for air and saying, “please, I can’t breathe” and “don’t kill me”.
Civil unrest has flared across major US cities in outrage over Floy’ds death, which has triggered an outpouring of anger over persistent racial bias in the US.
Chants of ‘I can’t breathe’ were used as a rallying cry, echoing the man’s dying words, as protests sparked from Los Angeles to Miami to Chicago.
In Washington, hundreds of protestors took to the streets near the Justice Department headquarters, shouting: “Black lives matter.”
Protesters in Los Angeles clashed with police in the Fairfax district, as looters broken into stores in a nearby shopping area.
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In Chicago footage show an overturned SUV, a patrol car on fire, a person burning the American flag and a skirmish between demonstrators and police.
While in Minneapolis, rioters set buildings ablaze in shocking scenes driven by fury.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and on Friday arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter.
Three other officers dismissed on Tuesday from the police department with Chauvin, who was known to have worked off-duty security at one of the same nightclubs as Floyd, are also under criminal investigation in the case, prosecutors said.
But the protest rage on, as demonstrations seek to highlight the incredible racial inequality with the US justice system.
Now US President Donald Trump has blamed what he called “Antifa” and the “radical left” for the unrest, saying: “Don’t lay the blame on others!”
The President took to Twitter, insisting there were “organised groups that have nothing to do with George Floyd” pushing the protests, including anti-fascist groups.
At one point on Friday night, the White House went into partial lockdown due to protesters nearby.
And Mr Trump warned that is demonstrators had breached the fence, “they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.”
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Last night Mr Trump dismissed as “professionally managed so-called protesters” who “had little to do with the memory of George Floyd”.
He added: “They were just there to cause trouble. The @SecretService handled them easily. Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???”
US Attorney William Barr said in a statement: “In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organised and driven by anarchic and left extremist groups – far-left extremist groups – using antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from outside the state to promote violence.”
The president’s claims came as the governor of Minnesota claimed the protests had been hijacked by extremists.
Tim Walz said: “The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd, it is about attacking civil society, instilling fear, and disrupting our great cities.”
Asked about rumours that white supremacists were secretly infiltrating Black Lives Matter protests and instigating violence, Mr Walz said: “My suspicions and what I’ve seen on this, yes. It gets worse than that.
“The cartels, who are wondering if there was a break in their drug transmissions, are trying to take advantage of the chaos.
“That’s why this situation is on a federal level.”
What is antifa?
Antifa is short for anti-fascists.
In the United States most people say an-tee-fa. In the Uk, it’s sometimes referred to as anti-fa.
The antifa movement in the United States is a militant, left-wing, anti-fascist activist movement.
Antifa groups are opposed to neo-Nazis, Neo-fascism, white supremacists and racism, and are often seen as having anti-government tendencies.
The movement is known for traditional forms of protest such as rallies, but are not opposed to violence.
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