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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.

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

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

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."