Updated Sunday May 31 2020
Thousands of National Guard troops patrolled major US cities Sunday after five consecutive nights of protests over racism and police brutality that boiled over into arson, sending shock waves through the country.
A senior White House official, echoing President Donald Trump, blamed anarchists and far left activists for the violence while local leaders appealed to citizens to give constructive outlet to their rage without destroying their communities.
"There are some people in our streets who are driven there by a passion for our community," said Melvin Carter, the African American mayor of St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota and twin city of Minneapolis, the epicentre of the protests.
The death on May 25 of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis ignited this latest wave of outrage in the US — the 'Black Lives Matter' movement — over law enforcement's repeated use of lethal force against African Americans, this one like others before captured on cellphone video.
Criminal justice reform activist Korey Wise — a black man who was one of the Central Park Five and wrongfully convicted, incarcerated, and later vindicated in the late 1980s — joined the protests in Harlem.
From Seattle to New York, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets demanding tougher murder charges and more arrests over the death of Floyd, who stopped breathing after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Around the world, hundreds of people protested from London to Berlin in solidarity with demonstrations in the United States over Floyd's death in Minneapolis.
The protesters knelt in central London’s Trafalgar Square, chanting “No justice, no peace”, and then marched past the Houses of Parliament and finished up outside the US Embassy.
Several hundred protesters also staged a rally outside the US Embassy in Berlin, holding up posters saying “Justice for George Floyd”, “Stop killing us,” and “Who’s neckst”.
The death of Floyd after his arrest has triggered a tide of protests in the United States, unleashing long simmering rage over racial bias in the US criminal justice system.
Some rallies turned violent when unidentified rioters not associated with the 'Black Lives Matter' demonstrators resorted to vandalism and set fires as protesters clashed with riot police, some of whom fired tear gas and plastic bullets in an effort to restore order.
Interestingly, a pattern also seems to have emerged of police forces targeting journalists, with proper credentials, reporting on the protests as authorities harass and try to arrest them.
After CNN's Omar Jimenez and his team were arrested — and subsequently released — the latest case is that of Deutsche Welle reporter and his camera operator, who were "shot at with projectiles by Minneapolis police and threatened with arrest".
COVER IMAGE: Twitter/Dai Sugano (@daisugano)