- Pope Francis called for national reconciliation in the United States on Wednesday, saying that while racism is intolerable, the street violence that has broken out is “self-destructive and self-defeating”.
- The United States has been gripped by protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died last week in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and police brutality nationwide.
- US President Donald Trump has outraged faith leaders and protesters for walking to a historic church near the White House and creating a photo opportunity, just minutes after police used chemical smoke canisters and flashbangs on peaceful protesters to clear the way for the rare walk.
- Protesters are demanding all four officers involved be charged in Floyd’s death. So far, only one – white officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as the Black man pleaded, “I can’t breathe” – has been arrested and charged on Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Medical examiners have ruled the death a homicide.
- Those protesting against police brutality have been met with, at times, excessive force by authorities. Journalists have also been targeted by police. Officers have also been injured in the protests.
- Protesters have remained undeterred by curfews and the presence of the US National Guard in some cities. Largely peaceful protests have turned violent, with looting and vandalism as the night raged on.
Wednesday, June 3
09:55 GMT – George Floyd: US protesters risk COVID-19 ‘for health of nation’
Nationwide protests against police brutality in the US have seen thousands of people demonstrating in close quarters, chanting, shouting, and coughing when hit by tear gas, something that has raised concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.
Experts say racialised police violence is a grave and neglected public health crisis for African Americans, threatening not just their lives but increasing their risk of developing stress-related diseases, from heart failure to cancer.
09:25 GMT – Jay-Z buys full-page newspaper ads dedicated to George Floyd
US musician Jay-Z, along with lawyers, activists and victims of police violence, has taken out full-page
advertisements in newspapers across the United States in memory of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in police custody.
The ad, which was posted on the Instagram account of Jay-Z’s philanthropic project Roc Nation, is captioned “In dedication to George Floyd.” It features an excerpt from a speech by the black civil rights activist Martin Luther King in 1965.
09:00 GMT – Celtics coach expresses support for protests
Boston Celtics headcoach Brad Stevens wrote a letter to his players over the weekend in which he expressed his support for them and for the ongoing protests in the United States over racial inequality.
Boston players including Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier have been among several NBA players to participate in recent protests following the death of George Floyd.
Stevens said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday that “Every decent person feels the pain of the African American community” anf that he wanted his players to know he stood with them.
08:15 GMT – Pope condemns racism and violence in US, calls for national reconciliation
Pope Francis broke his silence on the unrest in the United States, saying no one can “turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion” but condemning violence as “self-destructive and self-defeating”.
Francis, who dedicated the entire English-language section of his weekly audience to the US situation, implored God for national reconciliation and peace.
07:53 GMT – UN chief calls for restraint amid George Floyd protests
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on authorities in the US to exercise restraint in responding to protests over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died last week after being pinned down by a white police officer.
“I am heartbroken to see violence on the streets in our host country and our host city of New York,” Guterres said Tuesday on Twitter.
07:15 GMT – Police confront several hundred in Portland
Several hundred people broke away from a massive peaceful protest in Portland, Oregon, late Tuesday and engaged in a confrontation with police officers guarding a public building.
Police Chief Jami Resch said in a video message posted on Twitter that members of the smaller group tried to tear down fencing set up to protect a facility that holds the police headquarters and a county jail and threw bottles, bats and mortars at officers.
Police declared an unlawful assembly and set off flash-bang grenades and tear gas.
It wasn’t clear how many arrests, if any, had been made.
06:41 GMT – Police shove, make AP journalists stop covering protest
New York City police officers surrounded, shoved and yelled expletives at two Associated Press journalists covering protests Tuesday in the latest aggression against members of the media during a week of unrest around the country.
Portions of the incident were captured on video by videojournalist Robert Bumsted, who was working with photographer Maye-E Wong to document the protests in lower Manhattan over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The video shows more than a half-dozen officers confronting the journalists as they filmed and took photographs of police ordering protesters to leave the area near Fulton and Broadway shortly after an 8 p.m. curfew took effect.
06:14 GMT – Atlanta protests disperse after police use tear gas
Most protesters in Atlanta left the city’s downtown area, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, after police deployed tear gas to disperse crowds and enforce a 9pm curfew.