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WORLD BRIEFING

World alarmed by violence in US; thousands march in London

LONDON (AP) — Nations around the world have watched in horror at the civil unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. Racism-tinged events no longer startle even America’s closest allies, though many have watched coverage of the often-violent protests with growing unease. Burning cars and riot police in the U.S. featured on newspaper front pages around the globe Sunday — bumping news of the COVID-19 pandemic to second-tier status in some places. Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis was the latest in a series of deaths of black men and women at the hands of police in the U.S. Thousands gathered in central London on Sunday to offer support for American demonstrators. Chanting “No justice! No peace!” and waving placards with the words “How many more?” at Trafalgar Square, the protesters ignored U.K. government rules banning crowds because of the pandemic. Police didn’t stop them. Demonstrators then marched to the U.S. Embassy, where a long line of officers surrounded the building. Several hundred milled around in the street and waved placards.

Cops fired in ‘excessive force’

ATLANTA (AP) — Two police officers have been fired and three others placed on desk duty over excessive use of force during a protest arrest incident involving two college students, Atlanta’s mayor said Sunday. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a news conference that she and police Chief Erika Shields made the decision after reviewing body-camera footage of a Saturday night incident that first gained attention from video online and on local news. “Use of excessive force is never acceptable,” Bottoms told reporters. Shields called the footage “really shocking to watch.” The video, shown on TV as captured by local reporters, shows a group of police officers in riot gear and gas masks surround a car being driven by a man with a woman in the passenger seat. The officers pull the woman out and appear to use a stun gun on the man. They use zip-tie handcuffs on the woman on the ground. The couple did not appear to be fighting police.

DC mayor: Cconcerned about virus

rebound MIAMI (AP) — In hindsight, Rosa Jimenez Cano realizes that attending a protest against police brutality was risky — and not just for the usual reasons. “This can be kind of a tinderbox for COVID,” the 39-year-old venture capitalist said after attending a demonstration in Florida, one of many around the country sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer. As more beaches, churches, mosques, schools and businesses reopened worldwide, the sudden and mass civil unrest in the United States is raising fears of new virus outbreaks in a country that has more confirmed infections and deaths than any other. And it’s not just in the U.S. — London hosted a large anti-racism protest Sunday where demonstrators violated social distancing rules. Rosa Jimenez Cano said she planned to self-quarantine for 14 days, worrying she was perhaps “irresponsible” when she attended Saturday night’s protest in Miami, where she exposed herself to crowds of people. Protests over Floyd’s death — the latest in a series of killings of black men and women at the hands of police in America — have shaken the country from Minneapolis to New York, from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

History, now: Echoes of 1968

The streets were on fire as National Guard troops streamed into American cities. The shouts were soaked in anger and anguish: “We’re sick of it!” There was dark talk of “radical agitators.” Violent outbursts and arrests piled up across the republic. The White House issued martial statements about law and order. On TV, footage of unrest and anger played on a continuous loop. The voice from mission control was cool and calm as the rocket soared into the sky and towards space. “Stage One propulsion is nominal.” It was the late 1960s. It is right now. For Americans of a certain age — and for those mindful of the past — it is impossible to ignore the similarities between these past few days and some of the more unsettling moments from the 1960s. In particular 1968, a year marred by assassinations and violent social unrest.

Unrest devastate street of diversity

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Along the miles-long Minneapolis street where more than a century of migrants have found their American footholds — Germans, Swedes, Vietnamese, Somalis, Mexicans — a new history can be traced. There’s the smoldering police station torched early Thursday morning by protesters enraged by the death of George Floyd while in custody. There’s the Wells Fargo bank branch a couple of blocks away that mobs stormed through the next night, leaving behind a carpet of shattered glass and strewn paperwork. “Kill Bankers” reads the graffiti now spray-painted on an outside wall. Go further up Lake Street and there’s more fresh history: the Somali restaurant with the broken windows, the empty hulk of a burned sneaker store, the boarded-up party supply store owned by a Mexican immigrant who had been praying for the coronavirus lockdown to end so he could reopen. The protests that have roiled Minneapolis night after night didn’t inflame just a single neighborhood: Much of the violence raged up Lake Street, an artery of commerce and culture that cuts across a broad swath of the city.

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