June 6 (UPI) — Demonstrators poured into the streets of American cities, including Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, for the second consecutive weekend of protests reacting to the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd.
Multiple cities, including Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and have lifted curfews restricting protests, but restrictions remain in effect in other cities.
Officials in some cities have also announced reviews of use-of-force policies, including those pertaining to less-than-lethal weapons used for crowd control at protests.
Four New York Police Department officers have been reassigned due to their handling of protests.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and police chief Carmen Best announced a 30-day ban on tear gas Friday after days of criticism about the Seattle Police Department’s use of tear gas on protesters. Officials also said the city is reviewing the department’s use of chokeholds and pepper spray.
Portland mayor Ted Wheeler announced an immediate ban on the use of long-range acoustic devices Friday and also told a crowd of protesters he was considering a moratorium on the use of tear gas. Demonstrators in downtown Portland were tear gassed in downtown Portland later that night.
Friday night’s demonstrations came one day after family members held a memorial service in Minneapolis for Floyd, who died May 25 after a former police officer knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes.
As demonstrations entered their 11th night, more and more people in small towns took to the streets to call for an end to police brutality and racism. Protesters gathered in places such as Holland, Ark.; Farmington, Mo.; State College and Solebury, Pa.; Fairmont, W.Va.; Lynn, Mass.; and Havre, Mont.
The Washington Post said protests have been held in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and that there have been demonstrations in more locations than there were during the Women’s Marches in January 2017, which took place in 650 cities and towns.
Grace Gilliam participated in a small gathering outside the St. Francois County Courthouse in Farmington, Mo., on Tuesday.
“Even if it was small, it was loud, and it was powerful,” she told CNN. “Some people don’t see that these things happen everywhere. It is not specifically in big cities where people of color are facing injustices, it’s all over America.”
Providence, R.I., held its second protest in response to Floyd’s death on Friday night, with thousands marching to the Rhode Island State House and others gathering at Central High School. Tuesday’s demonstration involved rioting and about 65 arrests, but Friday remained peaceful. A curfew was in place at 9 p.m.
“They did a great job of not only organizing it but controlling it and giving their message,” State police Col. James Manni told the Providence Journal of the 5,000 to 7,000 protesters in the capital.
Peace prevailed in larger cities, too, Friday night.
More than 1,000 people gathered at the offices of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison in St. Paul, calling for investigations of recent police-involved shootings.
Hundreds more gathered at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis and another group marched from downtown Minneapolis to the site of Floyd’s death.
Several demonstrations took place throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles, where a group knelt at City Hall. Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore held a vigil across the street.
“We all hope for this antidote for this pandemic, but more importantly, as an American, I hope for an antidote for racism, for social injustice, for the inequalities,” he told KABC-TV in Los Angeles.
Some protesters called for officers to “quit your job.”
One protester, who declined to give her name, told KABC she personally experienced racial profiling.
“We’ve had enough. We need you guys to join with us, whatever that looks like. We need you to join the community in making sure that what happened to George Floyd never happens again,” she said.
Demonstrators in Washington, D.C., marked what would have been the 27th birthday of Breonna Taylor, a Louisville, Ky., woman shot and killed by police on March 13 in her home. People sang “Happy Birthday” while gathered near the growing barrier outside the White House.
“I’m so grateful to the people listening and wanting the same thing I want — justice,” her mother, Tamika Palmer, told The Washington Post on Friday. “It’s been hard, but the added support I’m getting from around the country helps keep me going. It helps me know that I am not in it alone anymore. It keeps me determined, that’s for sure.”
Officials in the nation’s capital are preparing for its largest demonstration to date, with tens of thousands expected to gather Saturday morning.
Things weren’t as peaceful in Portland overnight, with police and protesters clashing into the morning hours. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said officers deployed tear gas to disperse crowds as protesters threw objects toward law enforcement outside the jail downtown, The Oregonian reported.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he plans to announce changes to the city’s policy of using tear gas — using it only in certain, limited circumstances.
In New York City, protests largely centered in Brooklyn, with many gathering past curfew at Grand Army Plaza. The New York Police Department arrested at least 40 people Friday night. About 500 people gathered at Columbus Circle, and smaller groups marched on Flatbush Avenue.
Demonstrators plan to march Saturday from downtown Brooklyn to City Hall.