Clashes outside White House, Trump whisked to bunker
WASHINGTON, June1: Police fired tear gas outside the White House late Sunday as anti-racism protestors again took to the streets to voice fury at police brutality, and major US cities were put under curfew to suppress rioting.
With the Trump administration branding instigators of six nights of rioting as domestic terrorists, there were more confrontations between protestors and police and fresh outbreaks of looting.
Violent clashes erupted repeatedly in a small park next to the White House, with authorities using tear gas, pepper spray and flash bang grenades to disperse crowds who lit several large fires and damaged property.
Washington's mayor ordered a curfew from 11:00 pm until 6:00 am, as a report in the New York Times said that President Donald Trump had been rushed by Secret Service agents into an underground bunker at the White House on Friday night during an earlier protest. Dozens of Secret Service personnel were hurt during protests against the death of George Floyd.
The US president is believed to
have spent almost an hour being sheltered in the bunker, designed for use in emergencies such as terrorist attacks, as violent demonstrations raged in Washington, including outside the White House, and across US cities.
The Secret Service said that 60 of its officers and special agents "sustained multiple injuries" from projectiles such as "bricks, rocks, bottles, fireworks and other items", between Friday night and Sunday morning.
Local US leaders appealed to citizens to give constructive outlet to their rage over the death of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis, while night-time curfews were imposed in cities including Washington, Los Angeles and Houston.
One closely watched protest was outside the state capitol in Minneapolis' twin city of St. Paul, where several thousand people gathered before marching down a highway.
"We have black sons, black brothers, black friends, we don't want them to die. We are tired of this happening, this generation is not having it, we are tired of oppression," said Muna Abdi, a 31-year-old black woman who joined the protest.
Hundreds of police and National Guard troops were deployed ahead of the protest. At one point, some of the protestors who had reached a bridge were forced to scramble for cover when a truck drove at speed after having apparently breached a barricade.
The driver was taken to hospital after the protestors hauled him from the vehicle, although there were no immediate reports of other casualties. The New York Times said he was later arrested. -AFP