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Hundreds of people fired George Floyd, the black citizen who died when a white police officer pinned him to his neck with his knee, unleashed a wave of protests not seen in decades, in a ceremony full of intimate details but with a tone. very political.
Reverend veteran civil rights activist Al Sharpton was in charge of the elegy, in which he stated that Floyd "did not die of a common illness but died of a malfunctioning of the United States criminal justice system ."
"What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country," said Sharpton. "It is time for us to stand up and in the name of George let's say: get that knee off my neck," he added, receiving a standing ovation.
"You changed the world George," said the Baptist minister after the broadcast of images of Floyd's death sparked unprecedented outrage since the 1968 murder of black activist Martin Luther King Jr. "We will continue until we change everything. the justice system, "Sharpton said.
The ceremony, with music and strongly marked by the restrictions of the coronavirus, mixed intimate testimonies of the family with the presence of activists such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and politicians such as Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
The gilded coffin with its remains was placed in front of a projection showing a painted mural at the place where Floyd died, and where there is now a makeshift memorial with flowers and messages.
The family's lawyer, Ben Crump, promised "justice" in the case, for which four officers are being prosecuted.
Crump claimed Floyd died of the "pandemic of racism and discrimination" after the autopsy confirmed his death from suffocation and also revealed that he was infected with the coronavirus.
Most of the attendees wore face masks, some with the caption "I can't breathe," the last words Floyd said when white cop Derek Chauvin pinned him down by pressing his knee against his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
At one point in the ceremony, attendees were silent during this same space of time, and when Floyd's body entered the scene, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo dropped to one knee on the ground, signaling respect.
Booing the Mayor of New York
A simultaneous ceremony was held in New York, attended by one of his brothers, Terrence .
One of Floyd's relatives protected with a mask during the tribute.LUCAS JACKSONREUTERS
Attendees carried signs with messages like "White silence is violence" and "Let's make America not shameful again."
In addition, the city's mayor was booed by the gathered crowd who reproached him for his tolerance of heavy-handed police tactics against protesters who break the curfew imposed until Monday in the city.
Hundreds of protesters shouted slogans against Mayor Bill de Blasio during their brief statements at the vigil in Brooklyn on Thursday, after a night in which police beat peaceful protesters, according to videos broadcast on social media.
De Blasio told reporters that he had not seen the videos, but defended the way the curfew has been implemented, and said New York police have shown "generally a lot of restraint." "In the context of crisis, in the context of the curfew, there is a point that is enough," he said.
"If the officers say now is the time to go home, it is time to go home."
At the tribute, some of the thousands of protesters shouted at him: "De Blasio, come home!" and "Vote against it!" The mayor left soon after.
The wave of protests that has been stirring for the past 10 days the country intensified on Monday when President Donald Trump threatened to mobilize the army to restore order after peaceful protests during the day led to nighttime riots.
The disorders forced many cities to declare a curfew and 10,000 people have been arrested nationwide , according to local media.
On Wednesday, prosecutors handling the case in Minnesota toughened charges against police officer Derek Chauvin, who will now also be prosecuted for manslaughter, a charge that added to existing charges and carries more severe penalties.
If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to four decades in prison, although in the United States there are few cases of conviction against police officers.
In addition, the prosecutor charged the other three police officers for aiding and abetting murder.
Despite the hardening of the accusations, the mobilizations continued on Wednesday night, despite the curfew.
For this Thursday, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser decided not to establish more restrictions on night traffic, in tune with other cities such as Los Angeles.
In Minneapolis, the situation calmed down after the riots last weekend, but the city's mayor, Jacob Frey, estimated that the damage is around 55 million dollars.
Trump under pressure
Despite Trump condemning Floyd's death, he adopted a harsh tone to refer to the protesters, claiming that there were "bad people" within the mobilizations.
Tension mounted in his own cabinet after Pentagon chief Mark Esper voiced opposition to Trump invoking a law that would allow military forces to take to the streets.
Esper marked distance and said that this military option should be used as "a last resort and only in the most urgent and serious situations."
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