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Protesters Converge On White House For Second Straight Day

Demonstrators stand in front of police in riot gear as they gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Saturday, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Demonstrators stand in front of police in riot gear as they gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Saturday, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By ASHRAF KHALIL, KEVIN FREKING and MICHAEL BALSAMO Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Shouting "Black Lives Matter" and "I can't breathe," hundreds of people converged on the White House for a second straight day Saturday to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and President Donald Trump's response.

Trump, who earlier belittled the protesters, pledged to "stop mob violence."

"I stand before you as a friend and ally to every American seeking justice and peace, and I stand before you in firm opposition to anyone exploiting this tragedy to loot, rob, attack and menace," the president said in Florida after watching the launch of a SpaceX rocket. "Healing, not hatred, justice, not chaos are the missions at hand."

Across from the White House, police lined up in front of the protesters, forming a human barricade as Trump returned to the White House from his Florida trip.

Protesters chanted and taunted the police. Witnesses said there were multiple incidents of protesters pushing against the barricades and being repelled with pepper spray.

"We're sick of it. The cops are out of control," protester Olga Hall said.

Earlier, speaking over a megaphone, Cameron McCall said, "We don't need violence. All we need are our voices."

While some protesters stayed near the White House, others marched through the streets chanting, "No justice and no peace." and "Say his name: George Floyd." The mood was angry but decidedly non-violent with several speakers imploring marchers to remain peaceful.

Earlier, though, there were skirmishes between protesters and Secret Service officers on the edge of Lafayette Square, according to a reporter for radio station WTOP. Pepper spray was used to disperse one group of protesters, the station reported.

At multiple stops along the march, protesters verbally abused lines of uniformed police officers with riot shields.

The march paused between the the Washington Monument and the African-American Museum and demonstrators sat down in the street for a nine-minute moment of silence for the nine minutes that the Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd's neck.

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Demonstrators vent to police in riot gear as they protest the death of George Floyd, Saturday, near the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

At the Lincoln Memorial, one organizer spoke over a megaphone "Look to the left and to the right and thank that person. We can't hug anybody because of COVID but I love you anyway." Many of the protesters wore masks, but did not socially distance themselves.

Another group circled through the Capitol Hill neighbourhood for at least an hour in cars, honking. A helicopter hovered overhead.

In a series of tweets earlier Saturday, Trump doubted their allegiance to Floyd's memory, saying they were "professionally managed." He offered no evidence to back his assertion, and the president even seemed to invite supporters to make their presence felt: "Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???"

Trump later rejected the suggestion that he was stoking a potential conflict between protesters and his supporters. "I was just asking. But I have no idea if they are going to be here," he said. "MAGA is Make America Great Again. By the way, they love African American people. They love black people."

At Saturday's demonstration, there was no evidence of a counter-move by Trump supporters.

Trump said he had "watched every move" from inside the executive mansion during Friday's protest and "couldn't have felt more safe" as the Secret Service let the protesters carry on, "but whenever someone ... got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on then, hard — didn't know what hit them."

The president also criticised the mayors of Washington and Minneapolis.

Trump said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey "is probably a very good person, but he's a radical, left mayor." He then described how he watched as a police station in the city was overrun. "For that police station to be abandoned and taken over, I've never seen anything so horrible and stupid in my life," Trump said when speaking briefly to reporters at the White House.

He said Minnesota officials have to get tougher with rioters, and that by doing so they would be honouring the memory of Floyd.

The Secret Service said in a statement Saturday that six protesters were arrested in Washington and "multiple" officers were injured. There were no details on the charges or nature of the injuries. A spokesman for U.S. Park Police said their officers made no arrests, but several suffered minor injuries and one was taken to a hospital after being struck in the helmet by a projectile.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Saturday called the protesters "criminals" who committed "acts of violence while hiding behind their First Amendment right of lawful protest."

Wolf said the Secret Service was "evolving and adapting to the changing nature of the threats they face."

Floyd is the black man who was being held in handcuffs when he died Monday in Minneapolis after a police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air. Protests have erupted in U.S. cities in the days since.

As he tweeted, Trump claimed that many Secret Service agents were "just waiting for action" and ready to unleash "the most vicious dogs, and the most ominous weapons, I have ever seen." His reference to "vicious dogs" potentially being sicced on protesters revisits images from the civil rights movement when marchers faced snarling police dogs and high-pressure fire hoses.

In a news conference Saturday afternoon, Muriel Bowser, mayor of the nation's capital, called Trump's remark's "gross" and said the reference to attack dogs conjures up with the worst memories of the nation's fight against segregation.

"I call upon our city and our nation to exercise restraint, great restraint, even as the president tries to divide us," she said. "I feel like these comments are an attack on humanity, an attack on black America, and they make my city less safe."

In contrast with the president's tweets, the Secret Service said it "respects the right to assemble and we ask that individuals do so peacefully for the safety of all."

In protests that stretched into the early hours Saturday, people hurled pieces of bricks, bottles and other objects at Secret Service and Park Police officers who were in riot gear behind barricades around the White House. Protesters at times kicked and punched officers and wrestled over the barricades.

As some in the crowd grew more aggressive, police deployed pepper spray to keep them back and maintain a perimeter of officers around the White House.

The protest went on for hours before police declared the gathering "unlawful" and ordered everyone to leave Lafayette Square, a seven-acre public park located directly north of the White House. Dozens of officers pushed forward with their shields and fired off streams of pepper spray at protesters.

"Out of the park or you will be sprayed," an officer shouted at the crowd.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

Please get our unnecessarily endangered citizens home now

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John 2 months, 1 week ago

You must understand the politics, racism , hidden agendas and actions of extremists in America. The killing of a Black man by a white cop, ‘ who kept his knee in the victim’s neck for four minutes AFTER he passed out.’ is being used by groups like white supremists and skinheads to advance their agenda. And Black folk , again will be used as pawns and will carry the blame for the looting, the destruction of property and the violence against police. But officials in Minnesota have determined that less than 20% of the people they have arrested are residents. The rest are determined to be non residents of Minnesota many who belong to radical, extremists groups who use the dark web to plan their strategy and attacks, all at the expense of Black folk. Of course all Black peoples are not innocent, because if they see the opportunity to get a flat screen free or sneakers or clothing, they will not resist. And the news media is complicit because their cameras show it wasn’t the Black peoples breaking into the Gucci and jewelry stores, and the auto dealerships and banks.throwing bricks at police and destroying police vehicles. But they refuse to air this footage. And when a President Trump, makes the statement, ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts’ this added fuel to the fire. These groups want the president to launch attacks on the black communities. Welcome to America! The best Thing Black peoples can do now is STAY HOME! PS: The man who got murdered was in a relationship with a White female.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

The government has with deliberate action stranded Bahamians abroad going on 4 months. Many of these individuals are running low on funds with literally no idea how they will get get to Miami, get a $200 test AND pay for a return ticket. The govt's response to date is we dont care. And now they're caught up in race violence and the prospect of tracking down a testing centre in unfamiliar neighbourhoods with police just seeing black=militant people everywhere The only govt official who's spoken out on the insanity is Brent Symonette, isn't that ironic?

Thank you Mr Symonette for showing concern for our people. God forbid any of them are harmed like the Bahamian stabbed last year for walking into the wrong coffee shop in Florida.

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proudloudandfnm 2 months, 1 week ago

Actually that number about Minnesota was wrong, turns out the majority were in fact locals. And just because barr and trump says it wad leftist extremists doesn't make it true, those two scumbags lie for a living.

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tell_it_like_it_is 2 months, 1 week ago

Truly, for too long black people have been killed over there without penalty. Unarmed, jogging, walking, breathing... it seems there is no rhyme or reason...
Never any justice for these families. I don't support violence, but the peaceful protests I totally support. Enough is enough with the killing of black people without penalty!!

In the midst of that, they arrested the black CNN reporter, then another reporter who was white (also from CNN) who was reporting a block away -said the police was very polite to him. Typical!!! SMH

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joeblow 2 months, 1 week ago

... people use racism as a means to cover up their ignorance, hatred and evil ways. How many black men have died under similar circumstances in the hands of black police here in this country? I never hear cries of racism then! Nor do I hear them with the high incidences of black on black crime in cities across the US.

It is a simple matter of people not respecting others, being ignorant, hateful and spiteful WHILE abusing power. Looting and destroying the property and business of innocent people can only deepen the divide or animosity cloaked in that thing called racism!

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proudloudandfnm 2 months, 1 week ago

And racism is exactly how so many cops have gotten away with murdering young black men in the US with such impunity. Time for that to stop.

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John 2 months, 1 week ago

Don’t feel bad, a lot of young black men are also being killed in this country and throughout the Caribbean under the pretense that they are ‘drug dealers or violent criminals. And others are going to jail for crimes they did not commit. Go see who is advising your ministers (past and present) of national security.

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Jim 2 months, 1 week ago

John, Well written response, thank you, all true.

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RealTalk 2 months, 1 week ago

Police related shooting in the span of less than 2 months:

24th February 2020 - Narshon Adderley (dead)

2nd March 2020 - Steve Voltaire (dead)

13th March 2020 - Cedric Thompson (75 y/o) (dead)

30th April 2020 - Adrian Wright (dead)

24th May 2020 - John Tellam "AN American boat captain was detained by police on Friday after opening fire on officers during a tense stand off on Green Turtle Cay where crime is virtually unheard of."

“They decided to detain him for the night and figure out what they were going to do with him.”

"Prosecutors allege that Tellam had 138 rounds of 12-gauge shotgun shells, 100 rounds of .556 ammunition and 553 rounds of .223 ammunition with the intent to supply." Let's not forget the attempted murder charges at police. Bahamians have to wait weeks or months or years until they can get bail for crimes less severe than this!

Something about this just don't sit right with me.

Are black police officers killing black people? Are black police officers allowing white people to shoot at them but take them in alive? How is the court system giving this person bail on his FIRST court appearance in the amount of $10,000 after shooting at the police!

Let's be fair Bahamas.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

"Are black police officers killing black people? Are black police officers allowing white people to shoot at them but take them in alive?"

Yes. It's not lost on anyone (I think) that the same injustices exist here... its not only skin colour as we're majority black. We're a country of who you know, what you have and what you look like.

Jonathan Ash sprinting to the courtroom?...no-name Derek Smith would have been accused of attempting to escape custody, would have been shot, placed in handcuffs, left to roast in the sun until the ambulance showed up, then beaten before being taken back to Fox Hill. He may have even ended up as another Fox Hill suicide case. The only difference between the US and The Bahamas is in "general" we dont find it unusual when black people ascend in our environment.

My concern is that our govt has stranded numerous Bahamians with limited funds in a Southern state on the verge of race riots and literally cannot tell them when they will be brought home.

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RealTalk 2 months, 1 week ago

Thats very true. It's been months. I hope they find a way to bring them home soon.

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stillwaters 2 months, 1 week ago

My two cents......Stay out of another country's business, folks.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

but Bahamians stranded in the US are our business

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John 2 months, 1 week ago

This country must now be prepared that if this unrest escalated, US citizens may flee, some to this country. They must be properly screened and tested for Corona

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John 2 months, 1 week ago

Abraham Lincoln is credited with freeing the slaves, but he also said, ‘ As long as Black people and White people live together, one race would have to be superior and the other inferior. As for me, I would prefer to belong to the superior race.’

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tetelestai 2 months, 1 week ago

Can I have a source for that comment please?

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avidreader 2 months, 1 week ago

Yes John: An excellent book about Lincoln and the situation in which he found himself at the conclusion of the Civil War (or the War Between the States as it is also known) is "Team of Rivals". I can't recall the author right now but the book is quite a read for anyone interested in that area of history.

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BONEFISH 2 months, 1 week ago

The author's name is Doris Kearns Goodwin.

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SP 2 months, 1 week ago

Martin Luther Kings' "nonviolent" protesting agenda was always a non-starter doomed to fail! The only "change" throughout history anywhere only came with violence and civil unrest!

The powers that be only understand violence, civil disobedience, and extreme pressure. Peaceful protest and talk are perceived as weakness, always falling on deaf ears. The American Indians are prime examples of failed "talks and treaties" with Anglo Saxons.

Burning down buildings, police stations, and cities is an expensive price to pay for change, but after 400 years of injustice, murder, and dialog, it is way past time for American minorities to resort to drastic measures.

The only surprise with these riots and black Americans is why after 400 years of being, murdered and marginalized in their own country, why haven't they turned to terrorism to get their point across?

Armed to the teeth white supremacists marched in cities 2 weeks ago about coronavirus lockdowns and wearing masks, confronted and antagonized police. What do you think would happen if armed black Americans took to the streets and confronted cops about murdering Floyd and other blacks?

America has serious race issues. The worse news is, many Americans with race issues end up working and living here imposing their racists', superiority, attitudes on unsuspecting Bahamians!

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Jim 2 months, 1 week ago

The rioters and looters in America are Antifa.

Antifa = Domestic Terrorists.

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JL 2 months, 1 week ago

Unfortunately nobody ever talks about the black on black murder rate. Just look at the murder rate in Chicago for the last decade. Young black men are killing each other at devastating numbers. Yes a white police officer kneeling on another mans neck is appalling and reprehensible,,,,but where is the outrage over the lives lost to each other. And where is President Obama on all of this? He is from Chicago and his voice seems to be lost on these young black men taking there lives from one another. And where is his voice on all of this violence and lawlessness that’s going on with these riots in these cities across the United States?

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mandela 2 months, 1 week ago

When citizens are tired and fed up with the system that is meant to look out for and protect them do none of the above then these kinds of things happen. I hope our present and future politicians and leaders are taking notes.

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tribanon 2 months, 1 week ago

Riots and looting coming to your own neighbourhood real soon.

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Jim 2 months, 1 week ago

Never heard any follow up of the killer of the owner that operated Big Johns on North Bimini - he wasn't black. Does anyone know as updates are not in any Bahamian news articles.

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SP 2 months, 1 week ago

@mandela......Our politicians have learned nothing. They habitually entice, mislead and fool, the people with slick slogans and have NEVER ONCE delivered!

Bahamians are complacent, but the politicians have long ago run out of rope, and COVID19 has made even the blind see that so many of us are suffering today because of decades of poor political leadership so time is not on their side.

The PLP buried themselves, and lost all credibility with "we believe in Bahamians". This FNM joined the electorates' thirst for inclusion in "ownership" with "Its' the people's time".

Both slogans acknowledge that Bahamians have been short-changed and marginalized by politicians for decades. The PLP and FNM have unwittingly self-condemned themselves!

The only question is, what "George Floyd" incident will finally push Bahamians over the edge to make us angry enough to lead to massive civil unrest demanding change and accountability?

History repeats itself. It has to and will happen!

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tribanon 2 months, 1 week ago

Ya gat dat right! Never has the large porch to my Montana log cabin seemed so tranquil and safe.

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tell_it_like_it_is 2 months, 1 week ago

Well said SP. I doubt any protest will happen here. We as Bahamians are too complacent!

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JokeyJack 2 months, 1 week ago

Protests cannot happen here because we have no jails for the protesters to be put in.

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John 2 months, 1 week ago

Three years ago more or less, Donald Trump told Black America, ‘you have nothing to lose by voting for me.’ And three and a half years later, Black America has even less to lose. And not only that, but most of White America and Brown America also find they have less to lose. Many are unemployed and the lockdowns due to the Corona pandemic has killed the spirit of America. And the president, who had the opportunity to starve off this crisis chose instead to take a bully stance, threatening that looters will be shot and anyone coming close to the White House will have vicious dogs set on them. But as soon as angry mobs got close to the White ahouse and set fires, Trump, either willingly or willing was whisked off to a safe underground bunker, leaving the country basically leaderless and to fend for themselves. And now if an even greater concern is that many of the looters and instigators of violence and property destruction are not locals but have been in close contact with local unsuspecting protesters who may have been exposed to the Corona virus.

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SP 2 months, 1 week ago

Ironically, white Americans now complaining about the protesters looting, burning, and violence, play ignorant to the fact that they themselves gained everything they have including the United States of America through violence, civil unrest, carnage, and a war against English oppression!

The American Indians lost their entire country to the invading white man whose mantras included: "Give me liberty, or give me death!" (Patrick Henry. March 23, 1775)

“If you want something you've never had you must be willing to do something you've never done.”! (Thomas Jefferson)

Minorities in the U.S. must stand and do whatever must be done to effect change if they wish to gain respect from the Anglo Saxons!

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Jim 2 months, 1 week ago

Antifa is the issue, not the peaceful protestors, notice the big change Monday after dark in the US, no senseless looters. By the way, watch FOX news, CNN tends to promote dependence on government handouts instead of independence.

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