Protesters torched a police station in Minneapolis, in the northern United States, Thursday, May 28, during the third night of clashes with police. This violence follows the death of an African-American, George Floyd, because of his violent arrest.
Thousands of people witnessed the fire in the northern parts of the city, after some of them broke down the barriers that protected the building and smashed its windows.
The police had deserted the place, according to the police. "Shortly after 10 p.m., in the interest of the safety of our personnel, the Minneapolis police evacuated Police Station 3," the police said in a statement.
BREAKING: The third precinct police station is on fire. Rioters have taken over pic.twitter.com/AJg4jDr9Tz- Max Nesterak (@maxnesterak) May 29, 2020
The protests had previously been mostly peaceful, with crowds contained by chains of men in uniform. But there were clashes with the looting of around thirty stores and fires, and the use of tear gas by the police at the police station, where the police officers implicated worked.
The parade started at the end of the afternoon, with many demonstrators wearing a mask to protect themselves from the coronavirus, while in the neighboring town of Saint Paul, the police reported damage and theft. "We know there is a lot of anger. We know there are a lot of injuries. But we cannot tolerate that some people use it as an opportunity to commit crimes," deplored the police chief of this town, Todd Axtel.
Minnesota State Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order authorizing the intervention of the National Guard. Two hundred state police, as well as helicopters, are also to be dispatched. "The death of George Floyd must bring justice and fundamental reforms, not more deaths and destruction," he said in a statement.
"Obnoxious, tragic", says Donald Trump
George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, died Monday night just after being arrested by police, who suspected he had wanted to forge a counterfeit 20-dollar bill. During the intervention, he was tackled to the ground by an officer who kept his knee on his neck for long minutes. "I can't breathe anymore", we hear him say on a recording of the scene, which has gone viral.
President Donald Trump "was outraged when he saw the video" of this "heinous, tragic" drama, spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said. "He immediately took his phone" to make sure the FBI investigation was going fast, she said. "He wants justice done."
The four agents involved were dismissed and the local and federal authorities are investigating the tragedy. But no charges have yet been laid, which fuel anger and frustration.
"These police officers must be arrested immediately," said Philonise Floyd on CNN, demanding, between two sobs, the death penalty for those responsible for the death of her brother.
"Everyone is suffering, that's why it all happens. I am tired of seeing black men die," he added. "I want them [the protesters] to be peaceful but I can't force them, it's hard."
A series of dramas
Like him, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights linked to a series of other tragedies, which have rekindled racial wounds in the United States.
"This is the latest in a long line of murders of unarmed African Americans by American police" and ordinary citizens, said Michelle Bachelet in a statement. "The American authorities must take serious measures to put an end to these murders, and to ensure that justice is done when they happen."
The case recalls in particular the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died in 2014 in New York after being asphyxiated during his arrest by white police officers. He too had said at the time "I can't breathe", a phrase that has become a rallying cry of the Black Lives Matter movement ("The life of blacks counts").
Minnesota was also marked by the death in 2016 of a black motorist, Philando Castile, shot dead during a mundane police check before the eyes of his partner and a young girl.
"Deficit of hope"
Reverend Jesse Jackson, who arrived in Minneapolis, called for further protests. He denounced a "lynching in broad daylight", and demanded justice. "We told the governor that murder must be called murder," he said to members of a Baptist church.
Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo admitted on Thursday that there was "a lack of hope" in his city and that his teams had contributed to it.
While ensuring respect for the residents' right to demonstrate and express their pain, he added that he "would not authorize any criminal act" likely to aggravate the trauma of the population.
On Wednesday in Minneapolis, a man died after being shot in the vicinity of the protests and a suspect was arrested.
Protesters in Los Angeles blocked a freeway on Wednesday briefly and smashed the windows of two police vehicles.
The France 24 week summary invites you to come back to the news that marked the weekI subscribe
Take international news everywhere with you! Download the France 24 appgoogle-play-badge_FR