The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, June 03, 2020 1:00 am

Protest roundup

Thousands march across world

Associated Press

PARIS – Tear gas choked Paris streets as riot police faced off with protesters setting fires Tuesday amid growing global outrage over George Floyd's death in the United States, racial injustice and heavy-handed police tactics around the world.

French protesters took a knee and raised their fists while firefighters struggled to extinguish multiple blazes as a largely peaceful, multiracial demonstration degenerated into scattered tensions. Police said at least 20,000 people joined the demonstration, defying a virus-related ban on protests to pay homage to Floyd and Adama Traore, a French black man who died in police custody.

Chanting “I can't breathe,” thousands marched peacefully through Australia's largest city, while thousands more demonstrated in the Dutch capital of The Hague and hundreds rallied in Tel Aviv. Expressions of anger erupted in multiple languages on social networks, with thousands of Swedes joining an online protest and others speaking out under the banner of #BlackOutTuesday.

Diplomatic ire percolated too, with the European Union's top foreign policy official saying the bloc was “shocked and appalled” by Floyd's death.

AP: Protests held in high virus areas

An Associated Press review found that demonstrations have taken place in every one of the 25 U.S. communities with the highest concentrations of new coronavirus cases. Some have seen major protests over multiple days, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

The AP's review focused on large metro counties – the central counties within metro areas with more than 1 million people – that showed the highest rates of new cases per capita over the past 14 days.

While the numbers of cases and deaths have been trending down in several of the cities where the largest protests have occurred, the number of people in those places infected with the virus – and with the ability to spread it – remains high. And in some of the communities, such as Minneapolis, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has been rising.

White hate group poses as Antifa

A white supremacist group created a fake Twitter account, posed as the leftist Antifa movement and called for violence during the ongoing protests sweeping the nation, the social media giant said Monday.

“Tonight's the night comrades,” the group tweeted Sunday. “Tonight we say 'f--- the city' and we move into residential areas ... the white hoods ... and we take what's ours.” The tweet, which also featured an emoji of a black fist and a misspelled Black Lives Matter hashtag, has since been removed and the account was suspended for violating Twitter's manipulation and spam policy.

The company identified the organization behind the fake account as Identity Evropa, which is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

DC man ushers protesters in home

Rahul Dubey had some unexpected guests Monday night – about 60.

They were protesters out after Washington's 7 p.m. curfew and about to be arrested when Dubey frantically waved them into his rowhouse. Police chased them as far as the entrance. Inside, pandemonium ensued as some of the screaming protesters hit by pepper spray sought relief for their eyes with milk and water. On the back patio, neighbors pitched in by handing milk over the fence.

“The whole time he didn't think of himself,” said one of the protesters, a 22-year-old Virginia man named Meka who declined to give his last name. “He was just trying to keep everybody safe, make sure we knew our rights and to make sure our spirits were lifted throughout the night.”

#BlackOutTuesday spreads in support

Though Black Out Tuesday was originally organized by the music community, the social media world also went dark in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, joining voices around the world outraged by the killings of black people in the U.S.

Instagram and Twitter accounts, from top record label to everyday people, were full of black squares posted in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Most of the captions were blank, though some posted #TheShowMustBePaused, black heart emojis or encouraged people to vote during Tuesday's primary elections.

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