The Latest: Thousands gather near White House to protest

By The Associated Press 07 June 2020, 12:00AM


— Washington DC expects largest demonstration yet for Floyd.

— Protesters gather at Trump golf resort in Florida.

— Floyd honored with memorial service near his North Carolina hometown.


WASHINGTON — Thousands of peaceful demonstrators poured into the streets of Washington on a hot, humid Saturday afternoon to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

The protesters gathered at the Capitol, on the National Mall and in many residential neighborhoods. The crowd erupted in applause as Mayor Muriel Bowser walked along the portion of 16th Street that she renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza on Friday.

Many of the loosely organized groups were moving toward the White House, where President Donald Trump was spending the day with no public events. The president remained behind-closed-doors, the faint sound of protesters audible in the distance.

One group of thousands of protesters chanted obscenities at Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice as they passed the FBI and Justice Department buildings. The protesters held signs that read, “ When a cop kills someone, we all die” and ”White silence is violence.” With hands raised in the air, many also chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot.”


LONDON — Protesters at an anti-racism rally in London clashed with police on Saturday near the offices of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The clashes near Downing Street came at the end of largely peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the capital, including outside the U.S. Embassy.

Objects could be seen thrown at police wearing protective gear and video shared on social media appeared to show that after a horse bolted amid the clashes, a police officer was unseated after hitting traffic lights. Photographs showed the officer being treated on the ground.

Police in helmets and with shields formed two lines outside Downing Street, with mounted officers in-between. This tactic has helped separate the crowd and calmed the situation.


DORAL, Fla. — About a 100 protesters gathered Saturday at President Donald Trump’s golf resort just outside Miami.

The protest was organized by Latinos for Black Lives Matter. Many carried signs saying such things as “Vote Him Out” and “Don’t Be A Bunker Boy,” the latter a reference to reports that Trump went into the White House bunker when protests in Washington got more violent.

Trump insists he only went there briefly for an inspection.

In Doral, about a dozen police officers were on hand for the protest but did not take any actions.

Several hundred people also gathered in downtown Miami for a march with plans for a bigger rally later in the day. The march was peaceful and led by a pastor who read Bible verses before everyone set out.


PARIS — After demonstrations in Paris, protesters denouncing police abuses and racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death gathered in other French cities.

Demonstrators holding placards reading “I can’t breathe” and “No justice, no peace” in English and other slogans in French joined a crowd hundreds strong in the southern French city of Marseille.

A demonstration in Nantes on the west coast also attracted hundreds of people.


RAEFORD, N.C. -- Mourners from around North Carolina are waiting in a quickly moving line outside a church in the small town of Raeford where a memorial service and public viewing for George Floyd is being held.

The line includes families with young children and teenagers. One young woman wore a graduation cap and gown as she walked beside her parents outside the church, about 22 miles (34 kilometers) from Floyd’s hometown of Fayetteville.

Several mourners told WRAL-TV that they felt drawn to attend because of Floyd’s death and the protests in response represent a historic or momentous moment.

The viewing was to be followed by the service for Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer placed a knee on his neck for several minutes on May 25. His death has resulted in protests around the world against police brutality and racism.


ATLANTA — Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she is lifting what had been a planned 8 p.m. curfew on Saturday in Atlanta after no arrests were reported Friday in Georgia’s largest city.

The city had been under a nightly curfew since the previous Friday, when a downtown protest dissolved into window-smashing, arson and looting.

More than 20 protests are scheduled Saturday across the Atlanta metro area. Bottoms says she will monitor the situation before deciding whether to reimpose a curfew on Sunday night.

South Carolina’s largest city also decided not to enforce a curfew Saturday. A Charleston city statement says no problems were reported Friday night. City officials say they will monitor developments Saturday in case things change.


LONDON — British world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has decried racism as he joined a Black Lives Matter protest in his home town of Watford, about 15 miles north of London.

Reading from a script in a video posted on social media, Joshua said the “virus has been declared a pandemic” and is “out of control.”

Joshua, who was not wearing a face covering and was unable to observe social distancing guidelines given the size of the crowd, said he wasn’t talking about COVID-19: “The virus I’m referring to is called racism.”

He said people should “speak out in peaceful demonstrations,” but they shouldn’t use them “for selfish motives” and turn to rioting and looting.


BUFFALO, N.Y. — Prosecutors say two Buffalo police officers have been charged with assault after a video showed them shoving a 75-year-old protester to the sidewalk.

Both pleaded not guilty Saturday to second-degree assault. The two officers were suspended without pay Friday after a TV crew captured the confrontation the day before near the end of protests over the death of George Floyd.

The footage shows a man identified as Martin Gugino approaching a line of helmeted officers holding batons as they clear demonstrators from Niagara Square. Two officers push Gugino backward, and he hits his head on the pavement. Blood spills from his head as officers walk past.


DENVER — A federal judge is limiting police use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other non-lethal weapons against people protesting police brutality in Denver.

In a temporary restraining order issued late Friday, U.S. District Judge Brooke Jackson says the four people who sued the city had made a strong case the police had used excessive force. He says an on-scene supervisor with the rank of captain or above must approve the use of any chemical weapons and projectiles. They also must wear body cameras.

Denver police say they would comply with the order but would ask for some changes given the limitations of staffing and cameras.


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Officials in Providence say they made just nine arrests after one of the largest protests in recent history in the city where a Black Lives Matter demonstration drew at least 10,000 peaceful demonstrators.

Thousands gathered downtown at Kennedy Plaza on Friday before marching to the Statehouse, where the crowd swelled in size. Many chanted, “No justice, no peace,” and “I can’t breathe.”

Police, some of whom knelt in solidarity with demonstrators, say only a few unruly protesters were taken into custody, most after several hundred people lingered well beyond the 9 p.m. curfew.


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A century-old statue commemorating women in the Confederacy was defaced in a Florida park amid ongoing racial inequality protests.

The Florida Times-Union reports the “Women of the Southland” statue in Jacksonville was splattered with red paint and tagged with the letters BLM, an abbreviation of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The statue has been in the city’s Confederate Park since 1915, and activists have been seeking its removal. Protesters in southern cities have targeted Confederate monuments as symbols of racial intolerance.


WASHINGTON -- Military vehicles and officers in fatigues are closing off much of downtown Washington, D.C. to traffic ahead of what are expected to be the largest protests yet in the city over the killing of George Floyd.

The blocks inside the perimeter surrounding the White House were calm on Saturday morning, with joggers and cyclists taking advantage of the open streets before the daytime temperature rises.

Some people were preparing supplies for protesters, including water bottles and granola bars.

The White House has been fortified with new fencing and extra security precautions amid a week of largely peaceful protests that at times grew violent.

President Donald Trump is at the White House, with no public events on the schedule.


ROME — Several hundred people protested peacefully in front of the U.S. consulate in Naples, shouting “I can’t breathe” to denounce the police killing of George Floyd.

In English and Italian, protesters chanted “Freedom!” and “No Justice, No Peace” and carried handmade signs. It’s one of the first protests in Italy in solidarity with Floyd and anti-racism efforts.

Police in riot gear enforced the perimeter around the protest, which was held along the seafront promenade opposite the U.S. consulate. There were no immediate signs of clashes. Most protesters wore facemasks and organizers urged them to keep their distance from each other because of the coronavirus.

There’s been an influx of migrants from Africa in recent years and racial incidents have been on the rise in Italy. Derogatory slurs directed at black soccer players make headlines, resulting in fines and sanctions for clubs.

More protests are planned this weekend in other cities.


PARIS — French security forces have sealed off the U.S. Embassy in Paris and the surrounding streets to prevent a banned protest against police abuses in France and the United States.

The demonstration planned for Saturday and others this week in the French capital were in support of U.S. protests following the death of George Floyd.

Police banned protests in Paris, citing the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus and concerns about public unrest.


BERLIN — Thousands of mostly young people, many dressed in black and wearing face masks, joined a Black Lives Matter protest in Berlin’s Alexander Square.

Some held up placards with slogans such as “Be the change,” I can’t breathe” and “Germany is not innocent.”

Amina Koss of Berlin says she’d taken part in Black Lives Matters protests before George Floyd’s death. She says she’s concerned some politicians, including in Germany, are making racism acceptable again.

Koss says, “we as a society don’t tolerate racism.”


LONDON — Thousands of demonstrators protested in rainy central London against police violence and racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd.

Gathering in Parliament Square, a traditional venue for protests, the demonstrators “took the knee” in silence and then chanted Floyd’s name before applauding his memory.

The demonstrators have ignored advice from the government and police to avoid attending because of the coronavirus. In England, gatherings are limited to groups of six, provided people observe the social distancing guidelines to remain 2 meters (6.5 feet) apart.

Though social distancing was not possible given the numbers attending, many protesters wore face coverings.

Many held banners aloft, including one that read “Racism is a Pandemic.”

Demonstrations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement also are taking place in Manchester, Cardiff in Wales and other U.K. cities. A rally is scheduled for Sunday in front of the U.S. Embassy in London.


PARIS —Police have banned a third protest in Paris that had been planned for Saturday to condemn alleged police abuses in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Police cited a risk of spreading COVID-19 and fears of public unrest. The police decree noted that social distancing regulations ban gatherings of more than 10 people.

Online posts called for people to gather Saturday afternoon in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

Paris police had previously also banned two other planned gatherings Saturday outside the US Embassy.


WASHINGTON -- Authorities in the nation’s capital are expecting Saturday to be the largest demonstration against police brutality in the city since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Washington has featured daily protests for the past week and they have largely been peaceful, with people marching back and forth from the White House to the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial.

Those numbers are expected to swell. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters Friday that local officials were projecting between 100,000 and 200,000 protesters.

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham wouldn’t commit to a number but predicted it would be smaller than the 1 million people who attended the Women’s March in 2017.

It comes as authorities have sought to reduce tensions by having National Guard troops not carry weapons.

There were zero arrests during demonstrations on Thursday and Friday and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser canceled the curfew that had been in place since Monday. She said she will decide on Saturday morning if it will be reinstated.

A number of D.C. churches and theaters have said they will open their lobbies so people can cool off.


Follow more AP stories on the George Floyd protests and reaction at

By The Associated Press 07 June 2020, 12:00AM
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