14:45 GMT13 April 2021
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    Riots Sweep US After Black Man Dies During Police Arrest (129)
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Wednesday marked the sixth consecutive day of protests against racism and police brutality in the US capital city of Washington, with prosecutors upgrading the charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and bringing charges against three other former policemen involved in the fatal arrest of George Floyd.

    On 25 May, Floyd, an African-American man, died in police custody in the city of Minneapolis. A video of the arrest showed Chauvin pressing his knee onto Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes as the man was kept handcuffed on his stomach, repeatedly saying he could not breathe. Chauvin and three other officers who were at the scene were fired. The initial protests in various cities in the United States were soon accompanied by riots, complete with violence, vandalism, arson and looting.

    On Wednesday, court documents revealed that the murder charges against Chauvin were elevated to second-degree from third-degree. The three other former officers, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, were charged with aiding and abetting murder.

    The sixth day of the protests, which have seen demonstrators in previous days trying to burn Washington's St John’s Episcopal Church, was generally peaceful.

    ​The protesters began their march on Wednesday near the Capitol, followed by others in front of Lafayette Square and outside Trump International Hotel. The National Guard formed a protective line near the White House to monitor order and block rioters from entering Lafayette Square.

    People lay down in protest for the death of George Floyd near the US Capitol on June 3, 2020, in Washington, DC.
    © AFP 2021 / MANDEL NGAN
    People lay down in protest for the death of George Floyd near the US Capitol on June 3, 2020, in Washington, DC.

    Protesters on the streets surrounding the White House took a knee and declared a minute of silence in memory of Floyd. Afterward, the marches continued with rioters chanting the "No justice - no peace" and "Hands up! Don't shoot!" slogans, expressing their anger over police violence. According to media reports, some of them laid down on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Wilson building and chanted "I can’t breathe" for about eight minutes.

    The police pushed the protesters in Washington further from Lafayette Square with the onset of darkness, as people slowly began to disperse ahead of the curfew that started at 11 p.m. local time. A couple of hours before the start of the curfew, about 200 members of the National Guard also left the defensive line in front of the White House.

    ​A crowd of almost a thousand people reached the square in front of the Congress building a few minutes before the curfew, shouting offensive slogans at the police officers standing along the metal fence. The police did not react and the demonstrators continued their way in the opposite direction, reaching the White House after the curfew became effective. There, the marchers joined with several hundreds of other protesters.

    ​Upon arriving at the White House, most of the crowd dispersed. About 100 people continued marching, playing music as they went. A few journalists remained on the site.

    On Monday evening, US President Donald Trump announced he was taking action to mobilize all available federal resources to respond to the ongoing riots. Trump said if the governors of US states refuse to take actions necessary to end the riots, he will deploy the US military to "quickly solve the problem for them." However, following US Defense Secretary Mark Esper's remarks during a press briefing in which he said that he did not support Trump's decision to use the military, the president said in an interview that he did not think the US military would have to be used to restore order.

    Riots Sweep US After Black Man Dies During Police Arrest (129)
    protest, police brutality, George Floyd killing, George Floyd, Washington DC, US
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