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Protests continue in Minneapolis for a fourth nightHundreds of demonstrators gathered in cities across the US on Friday as protests continued for a fourth night over the death of Minneapolis native George Floyd, killed when he was pinned to the ground by local police officers.
One of the patrolmen, Derek Chauvin, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter earlier in the day before fresh scenes of violence and arson erupted in Minneapolis and in sympathy demonstrations in other US cities including St Paul, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Oakland, Bakersfield, San Jose, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Houston and Louisville.
Minneapolis police said shots had been fired at law enforcement officers during the protests but no one was injured. As the night dragged on, fires erupted across the city’s south side, including at a Japanese restaurant, a Wells Fargo bank and an Office Depot. Many burned for hours, with firefighters again delayed in reaching them because areas weren’t secure.
Shortly before midnight, scores of officers on foot and in vehicles moved in to curb the violence, one day after city and state leaders faced blowback for their handling of the crisis. On Thursday, protesters had torched a police station soon after it was abandoned by police and went on to burn or vandalise dozens of businesses.
With the National Guard preparing to deploy 1,700 soldiers to Minneapolis – the largest deployment in the history of the state of Minnesota – in its bid to keep the peace with buildings burning and stores raided, the city’s Democratic mayor Jacob Frey warned protesters: “You are not getting back at the police officer that tragically killed George Floyd by looting our town.”
State governor Tim Walz likewise warned people to stay at home: “The situation has become dangerous for Minnesotans and first responders”.
Here’s Andrew Buncombe’s report from the scene.