Washington, June 2 (IANS) Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced a new curfew as protests over the death of the African-American man George Floyd turned violent not only in the US capital, but also cross the nation.
Bowser, who issued an 11 p.m. curfew on Sunday night, said at a news briefing on Monday that journalists covering the demonstrations and other essential personnel are exempted from the new measure which began at 7 p.m., reports Xinhua news agency.
“We want your voices to be heard, but we also want to protect the safety of everyone in our city.”
Describing the violent protests over the last few days as causing “significant damage” to the city’s downtown areas, Bowser said while “every American should be outraged by the murder of George Floyd”, Washingtonians should be “part of the solution, not part of the destruction”.
Incidents of arson, vandalism and clashes between police and protesters took place when demonstrations turned violent Sunday evening in the capital, with graffiti seen on buildings and monuments in the city centre and fire flaring up at the Lafayette Square directly north of the White House.
Bowser said the fire near the White House, which rekindled on Monday morning, forcing the closure of nearby streets and firefighters to put the blaze under control, was “intentionally set”, adding “that type of destruction is intolerable”.
Washington, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said at the briefing that 88 people were arrested Sunday night and two-thirds of those charged will face felony counts, and that seven police officers were injured but without need for hospitalization.
He added that more arrests may occur as investigators are examining “expansive” video footage.
“We’re prepared for multiple days of demonstrations,” Bowser said.
“We’re working with all of our intelligence to figure out who’s coming here.”
Pleading in vain for his life, Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white policeman, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for minutes.
All four police officers involved have been fired, and Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.