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May 31 coverage of nationwide unrest and ongoing protests

George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the country.
Protesters form a human chain near the 5th Police Precinct during a demonstration in Minneapolis on May 30, 2020.Chandan Khanna / AFP - Getty Images

This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 1 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

Protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota last week continued to intensify across the U.S. Sunday, as protesters broke local curfews to voice frustration over policing in America.

In Minneapolis, a semi-truck was seen barreling toward a massive group of demonstrators on an interstate, though no protesters appear to have been injured in the incident.

Some elected leaders have blamed the violence that has broken out at some protests on organized extremists, though so far they have offered little evidence to support their claims.

President Donald Trump said Sunday that he would designate the radical lefitst group antifa a terrorist organization after earlier attributing the violence to “thugs” who he said were “dishonoring the memory of George Floyd." The comment drew criticism from Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Democratic mayor of Atlanta, and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C, the Senate’s lone black Republican.

Download the NBC News app for the latest updates.

This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 1 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

Photo: Washington cleans up in the aftermath of protests

Image: A man cleans a wall of graffiti after a night of demonstrations in Washington, D.C., on May 31, 2020.
A man cleans a wall of graffiti after a night of demonstrations in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.Tom Brenner / Reuters

Detroit implements Sunday curfew as weekend protest arrests top 100

Mayor Mike Duggan announced the city will be under a curfew Sunday night beginning at 8 p.m. and ending at 5 a.m. as officials anticipate another night of protests.

“People cannot be on public streets or in public areas” during those hours, Duggan said at a press conference, according to NBC Detroit affiliate WDIV.

84 people were arrested on Saturday night and 60 people were arrested on Friday night during protests, WDIV reported.

Volunteers gather across the nation to clean up cities after protests

Volunteers gathered across the nation to clean up their prospective cities after the George Floyd protests. Steve Patterson reports from Minneapolis on the aftermath of the protests.

Philadelphia prepares to lock down Center City

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney plans to extend the city's curfew and impose a lockdown on the City Center area of downtown in an effort to prevent further looting and destruction. 

The city saw at least nine fires and 109 arrests around the city Saturday night into Sunday morning as protesters demonstrated against police violence following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, according to NBC Philadelphia. 

"We're locking down Center City today and tonight and probably extend the curfew," Kenney told the station Sunday.

Groups of people were seen carrying armloads of merchandise from businesses in Port Richmond on Sunday afternoon. Businesses were asked to help close early to help enforce the city's 8 p.m. curfew as looting continues to hit the area, NBC Philadelphia reported

ANALYSIS: Trump envisioned 'American carnage.' Now, he's got it.

Image: Secret Service and park police face off with protesters outside of the White House on May 30, 2020.
Secret Service and park police face off with protesters outside of the White House on May 30, 2020.Eric Baradat / AFP - Getty Images

WASHINGTON — American carnage isn't just one of President Donald Trump's catchphrases anymore.

When Trump first addressed the nation as its president on Jan. 20, 2017, he depicted the nation's cities as domestic combat zones and declared "this American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

Back then, it was hyperbole at best. But it's become reality on his watch, and he has encouraged further violence.

More than 100,000 Americans have lost their lives, and another 40 million have lost their livelihoods, amid a coronavirus pandemic to which Trump was slow to react. Against that backdrop, cities across the country are now combustible cauldrons of fear, anger, fire and tear gas as Trump has responded to the violence with threats and little evidence of understanding its cause.

Read the full analysis here. 

YouTuber Jake Paul says he wasn't looting after viral video shows him at vandalized Arizona mall

Image: Jake Paul attends an event in Los Angeles on May 8, 2019.
Jake Paul attends an event in Los Angeles on May 8, 2019.Rich Fury / Getty Images file

YouTuber Jake Paul released a statement on Sunday after footage of him at a looted Arizona mall surfaced amid claims he and his friends were among those doing the looting.

"To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism," Paul said in a statement.

Paul said he and his friends spent the day joining in peaceful protests of "one of the most horrific injustices our country has ever seen," according to the statement.

Read the full story here. 

Photos: See the fire and fury in protests across America

Fury sparked by George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody spawned massive protests and chaos across the country over the weekend.

See the full photo gallery here.

Image: A protester stands on top of a damaged police car in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles on May 30, 2020.
A protester stands on top of a damaged police car in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles on May 30, 2020.Brock Stoneham / NBC News

Opinion: George Floyd couldn't breathe. We protest because now all of Black America can't either.

George Floyd should have been alive today. George Floyd would have been alive today if his humanity was recognized, valued and respected. George Floyd should have been protected by those who swore an oath to uphold the law and help the communities they serve. George Floyd is no longer with us because even in the middle of a global pandemic, police brutality has not ceased, writes Rev. Al Sharpton for NBC News THINK.

COVID-19 is ravaging us, making it difficult to breathe, and yet systemic racism has been tightening its grip on our throats for years, Sharpton writes. Racism is trauma, passed from generation to generation. Enough is enough.

Read Sharpton's full opinion piece here.

Trump says he will designate Antifa a terrorist organization as GOP points fingers at extremists

President Donald Trump tweeted that he was designating Antifa as a terrorist organization.

That followed Trump and Attorney General William Barr earlier pointing to anti-fascist organizers and anarchists as culprits behind the violent protests following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Others said right-wing extremists such as Boogaloo followers, who hope to bring about a second Civil War, were pushing for such uprising in the protests.

Read the full story here.

Illinois activates National Guard after protests leave six shot, one dead

The Illinois National Guard has been activated to “support” Chicago amid continued protests that led to 240 arrests, six people shot and one death, the Illinois governor and Chicago mayor announced on Sunday.

“At the request of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, I am activating the Illinois National Guard to support the City of Chicago in protecting our communities and keeping people safe,” Governor J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. 

The news come after the mayor put Chicago under a curfew on Saturday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. “until further notice."

Lightfoot said on Twitter she requested “a small contingent of the National Guard to maintain a limited presence and support our police.”

Minnesota governor praises peaceful protesters, more than 50 arrests in Minneapolis area

Gov. Tim Walz on Sunday morning commended peaceful protesters in Minnesota as a celebration of diversity, even as the state reconciles with the destruction that occurred overnight with more than 50 arrested by the early hours of the morning.   

"The beautiful expression of solidarity and community that we saw played out by peaceful protesters, by that beautiful tapestry that is Minnesota," Walz said. "Indigenous dancers leading in the middle while the crowed kneeled around in reverence in making sure that justice was served." 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Sunday noted that the violent incidents Saturday happened alongside joyous protests of people "rallying around a common cause, which is each other," and communities coming out together to clear the debris in the morning. 

"Even though the whole world has seen us at out worst, we can still be at our best," Frey said.

About 25 people were arrested in Hennepin County and another 30 in Ramsey County by 2 a.m., Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Sunday. More arrests were made between then and about 6 a.m., but Harrington did not have an exact count. 

 

Photo: Chicago River bridges remain upright after night of unrest

Image: Several street bridges over the Chicago River remain closed after a night of unrest and protests on May 31, 2020.
Several street bridges over the Chicago River remain closed on Sunday after a night of protests.Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces probe after video shows NYPD SUVs driving into protest crowd

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday announced an investigation into a video appearing to show a New York Police Department cruiser driving into a crowd of protesters. The announcement came a day after De Blasio defended the alleged police action caught on camera. 

"I didn't like what I saw one bit. I did not want to ever see something like that, I don't want to ever see it again," de Blasio said. "And clearly, we need to do a full investigation and look at the actions of those officers and see what was done and why it was done and what could be done differently."

The mayor announced the launch of an independent review into the video led by Corporation Counsel James Johnson and New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett. The results are expected to come in during the month of June, he said.

Still, de Blasio chastised protesters, calling their tactic of surrounding police vehicles dangerous. 

Read the full story here. 

Protests and National Guard response draw comparisons to unrest in 1968

As of Saturday at least 10 states had called up the National Guard to enforce curfews in cities around the country. The decision mirrors that of state leaders in 1968 when multiple cities erupted in civil unrest following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis. 

National Guard troops were also called into action in California in 1992, after a jury’s decision to acquit the police officers caught on tape beating black motorist Rodney King.

While the Watts Riot in 1965 was sparked by police action, it’s the multi-city uprisings that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 that represent the most direct comparison, said Gerald Horne, author of the book, “Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising."

But even then, people were relatively optimistic, or had reason to be, about the federal government, he said. This time, some of those who have taken to the streets have focused their ire on the buildings and institutions that represent power, Horne said. That includes police stations in Minneapolis, a state house in Ohio, several Trump hotel properties and, last night, the White House. 

"That is quite remarkable,” said Horne, who is also a professor of African American studies at the University of Houston. “That makes me worry about what is going to happen tonight. These are direct challenges to the power of the state, a state that has operated in grossly unjust ways but a challenge."

D.C., Atlanta mayors call for calm, say 'solution is not to destroy our cities'

WASHINGTON — Amid nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd while in custody of a Minneapolis police officer, the mayors of two major cities Sunday urged those participating to remain peaceful, calling the destruction of property something that's not a productive solution to the frustrations.

“We’re sending a very clear message to people that they have a right to exercise their First Amendment rights, but not to destroy our city," Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in an exclusive interview on "Meet the Press."

"We saw a level of just destruction and mayhem among some that was maddening.”

Read the full story here. 

Target to close 175 stores amid protests

Target announced Sunday that it will temporarily close approximately 175 stores across the U.S. as some stores have been at risk of looting. 

The Minneapolis-based chain said in a statement Sunday it was heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain his death has rippled through communities around the country. Stores closing include more than 30 locations in Minnesota and dozens in states such as California, Illinois and New York. 

"We are providing our team members with direct communications updates regarding any store impact where they work," the company said. "Additionally, team members impacted by store closures will be paid for up to 14 days of scheduled hours during store closures, including COVID-19 premium pay." 

NYPD Commissioner decries 'mob' out to co-opt equality movement

NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea on Sunday morning denounced the "willful destruction of property" in New York City in a Twitter thread.

Shea praised officers in his statement and denounced those who he said were not out to protest police brutality, but were a "mob" that wished to co-opt the death of George Floyd to inflict harm. 

"What it was, quite frankly, was a mob bent solely on taking advantage of a moment in American history, to co-opt the cause of equality that we all must uphold, to intentionally inflict chaos, mayhem, and injury just for the sake of doing so," Shea tweeted.

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu say black lives matter

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other major Hollywood players are using their corporate social media accounts to take a stand and support the Black Lives Matter movement, amid nationwide protests decrying the police killing of George Floyd.

Netflix tweeted on Saturday: "To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter. We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up."

While, CEO of ViacomCBS-owned Paramount Jim Gianopulos sent an internal memo to employees, expressing that "too many members of the Black community have had their breath stolen from them through racial injustice."

Alphabet-owned YouTube on Friday also posted that: "We stand in solidarity against racism and violence. When members of our community hurt, we all hurt. We're pledging $1M in support of efforts to address social injustice."

Thousands gather at London protest

Thousands gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to express their outrage over the death of George Floyd on Sunday, as demonstrators clapped and waved placards as they offered support to U.S. protestors.

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

Social media posts show a number of protests have been planned for the coming week in the U.K.’s capital city. 

Even so, the protests do not originate from the official Black Lives Matter U.K. group, which said on Twitter that while the coalition "stands in solidarity with all those whose hearts feel broken," it is still "discussing the implications of calling a mass march in the middle of a pandemic that is killing us the most."

At least 27 protesters arrested on Saturday night in Seattle

At least 27 people were arrested while protesting in Seattle on Saturday night, the city's police chief said in a news release Sunday. 

The alleged offenses varied from assault to arson, destruction and looting, Chief Carmen Best said.

“In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd we all are rightfully angry, sad, frustrated, and heartbroken,” Best said.

She added that while the protest began peacefully at noon on Saturday, they became increasingly violent as the afternoon went on, "due to the actions of some groups who wanted to take advantage of this situation."

Target announces temporary store closures in Minnesota, other states

Image: Protests Continue Over Death Of George Floyd, Killed In Police Custody In Minneapolis
Tear gas spreads through a Target parking lot after a confrontation between police and demonstrators on Thursday, May 28 in St. Paul, Minnesota.Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

Target said Saturday it's closing 70 of its stores in Minnesota because of the protests over the death of George Floyd.

It is also closing stores in other states, including California, Illinois, New York and Oregon among others. 

"We anticipate most stores will be closed temporarily," the company said in a statement. "Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal."

It said employees impacted by store closures will be paid for up to 14 days of scheduled hours during store closures, including COVID-19 premium pay. They will also be able to work at other nearby Target locations, the company added. 

13 Philadelphia Police officers injured in protests

Philadelphia Police said 13 of its officers have been injured as the result of violence that broke out during protests sparked by George Floyd's death. 

It said seven of the officers sustained chemical burns to their faces, two had head injuries and four were left with injuries to their extremities. 

All were treated at area hospitals, the police force said. 

San Francisco mayor announces curfew

San Francisco's mayor has said the city will be implementing a curfew starting at 8 p.m. on Sunday. 

"To be clear, this is the last thing I want to do as a mayor," London Breed said in a briefing. "I want peace. I want protest. But I don't want the kind of violence and crime we see playing itself across the streets of our city to continue."

Encouraging the city's residents to stay at home, she said those from out town should go back to their homes. 

St. Louis County PD shares photos of damage at Ferguson police station

Police officers kneel during rally in Coral Gables, Florida

Image: TOPSHOT-US-POLITICS-POLICE-JUSTICE-RACISM
Police officers kneel during a rally in Coral Gables, Florida on Saturday in response to the recent death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while being arrested by a Minneapolis police officer.Eva Marie Uzcategui / AFP - Getty Images

Iran's foreign minister criticizes U.S. over death

Iran's foreign minister has criticized the U.S. over the death of George Floyd.

“Some don’t think #BlackLivesMatter,” Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter. “To those of us who do: it is long overdue for the entire world to wage war against racism. Time for a #WorldAgainstRacism.”

The tweet also featured a screenshot of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement from 2018, addressing protests in Iran, but with elements crossed out and replaced to include references to the ongoing protests in the U.S. 

U.S. police failing to respect right to peaceful protest: Amnesty International

U.S. police across the country are failing their obligations under international law to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest, rights group Amnesty International warned Saturday, adding that this was exacerbating a tense situation and endangering the lives of protesters. 

“In city after city, we are witnessing actions that could be considered unnecessary or excessive force," said Rachel Ward, national director of research at Amnesty International USA. "We call for an immediate end to any excessive use of force and for law enforcement to ensure and protect the legal right to protest.” 

She added that the use of heavy-duty riot gear and military-grade weapons and equipment to police largely peaceful demonstrations may intimidate protesters who are practicing their right to peaceful assembly. 

“Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict are inevitable,” she said. 

Crowds hit with tear gas in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS — Demonstrations appeared to get rowdier in downtown Las Vegas Saturday as the night unfolded.

Shortly before 10:30 p.m., many demonstrators set off fireworks near the federal courthouse on Las Vegas Boulevard. About a block down the same street, a group of looters appeared to break into a pawn shop.

Demonstrators in other locations reported that police cars windows were being smashed. Police officers in riot gear rushed down the streets, setting off flash bangs. Officers released tear gas into the air.

"I’m a peaceful protester and I don’t know why I’m getting hit with tear gas,” said Ace Michaud, 35.

He was marching with other demonstrators near the Fremont Street Experience when he heard a smashing sound and saw gas.

“It was everywhere," he said.

Man points hunting bow at Salt Lake City protesters

A man armed with a hunting bow pointed the weapon at protesters in Salt Lake City on Saturday and police said he'll be facing charges.

"So we have identified the subject in the video and will be screening charges on him for his part in the unrest," according to a police statement. "We are aware of the incident because of the video that was shared with us and that will be part of the evidence."

Video posted to Twitter appeared to show protesters rushing the man and disarming him before he could fire it. 

Video shows man disarming person with stolen Seattle police rifle

Dramatic video showed an armed man disarming an apparent protester who had a stolen Seattle police rifle taken after police vehicles were burned Saturday.

Two rifles were stolen from Seattle police patrol cars that were burned amid the chaos, and both were recovered by a security guard working with a Q13 Fox News reporter, police said in a tweet.

The video from KOMO shows a man with what appeared to be a handgun taking the rifle from a bandanna-masked man, and then releasing the magazine. A Seattle police spokeswoman confirmed that rifle was one of the two stolen from the SPD vehicles, but did not confirm who disarmed the man.

The reporter, Brandi Kruse, tweeted that "our security guard felt that the public was in danger" and took the rifle from what she described as a rioter and disabled it.

Seattle police tweeted their thanks to the man for "safely recovering both rifles and potentially saving lives." One rifle had been fired but police said there were no reports of injury and they were unsure who fired it. Kruse tweeted that a person took the rifle and fired into vehicles, but no one appeared hurt.

Police said no arrests had been made.

California governor declares state of emergency in L.A. County, sends in National Guard

California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County and deployed the National Guard as tensions between protesters and police flared. 

Up to 1,000 troops were expected to arrive in the LA-area by midnight, NBC Los Angeles reported.

"Whether you wear a badge or whether you hold a sign, I’m asking all of Los Angeles to take a deep breath and step back for a moment," Mayor Garcetti said during a Saturday press conference. "To allow our firefighters to put out the flames. To allow our peace officers to re-establish some order. And, to let them protect your rights to be out there."

Businesses in popular shopping sections of L.A., including near Melrose Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, were looted throughout the day and into the night.

A citywide curfew was imposed Saturday starting at 8 p.m. but thousands of people ignored the order.

Los Angeles shuts down COVID testing centers due to protests

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Saturday that all of the city's COVID-19 testing centers were closed as of 3 p.m. local time.

Garcetti also said that the city would be under curfew from 8 p.m. till 5:30 a.m. Sunday. Protests in the city were already underway on Saturday as buses were overtaken and multiple police cars were set on fire in the city's 4th day of protests.