Protestors around the CNN Center in Atlanta confront police re death George Floyd 290520 CREDIT PA
USA

US National Guard Summoned To Aid Cities Amid Clashes

Protestors around the CNN Center in Atlanta confront police re death George Floyd 290520 CREDIT PA

The governor of the US state of Georgia has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard as violence flared in Atlanta and other American cities following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

In a widely-viewed video, a white police officer can be seen pressing a knee into the neck of Mr Floyd, who was black, while taking him into custody in Minneapolis.

Another 500 National Guard soldiers have been mobilised in and around Minneapolis, where an officer faces charges over Mr Floyd’s death.

After another night of watching fires burn and businesses ransacked, Minnesota’s governor Tim Walz said he is moving to activate more than 1,000 extra National Guard troops and is considering federal help.

The National Guard is also on stand-by in the District of Columbia, where a crowd grew outside the White House and chanted at US President Donald Trump.

Some protesters tried to push through barriers set up by the US Secret Service along Pennsylvania Avenue, and threw bottles and other objects at officers wearing riot gear, who responded with pepper spray.

One person was killed in Detroit just before midnight after someone in an SUV fired shots into a crowd of protesters near the Greektown entertainment district, police said.

In Portland, Oregon, protesters broke into police headquarters and authorities said they lit a fire inside.

In Virginia’s capital, a police cruiser was set on fire outside Richmond police headquarters, and a city transit spokeswoman said a bus set ablaze was “a total loss”, news outlets reported.

Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp tweeted that up to 500 members of the Guard would deploy immediately "to protect people & property in Atlanta".

He said he acted at the request of Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who earlier appealed in vain for calm.

In scenes both peaceful and violent across America, thousands of protesters chanted: "No justice, no peace," and: "Say his name. George Floyd."

They also hoisted signs, reading: "He said I can’t breathe. Justice for George."

Video posted to social media showed New York City officers using batons and shoving protesters as they took people into custody and cleared streets.

One video showed on officer slam a woman to the ground as he walked past her in the street.

Demonstrators rocked a police van, set it ablaze, scrawled graffiti across its charred wreckage and set it on fire again as officers retreated. Blocks away, protesters used a club to batter another police vehicle.

"There will be a full review of what happened tonight," New York mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, referring to the Brooklyn protest.

"We don’t ever want to see another night like this."

The police department said numerous officers were injured, including one whose tooth was knocked out.

Demonstrators on the West Coast blocked highways in Los Angeles and Oakland, California.

About 1,000 protesters in Oakland smashed windows, sprayed buildings with “Kill Cops” graffiti and were met with chemical spray from police, who said several officers were injured by projectiles.

One Los Angeles officer received medical treatment. An LAPD vehicle had its windows smashed, and at least one city bus was vandalised.

Police declared an unlawful assembly throughout the city, where aerial footage from KTLA-TV showed scores of people corralled by police.

An LAPD spokesman told The Associated Press they were still tallying arrests.

"I believe in our city. LA is strong enough to stand for justice and walk in love," Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted, before cautioning: "Violence and vandalism hurts all."

Cover image: Protestors in Atlanta confront the police on 29 March (Picture: PA).