The Latest: Hundreds protest in Hungary over Floyd death
TOP OF THE HOUR:
— Hungary holds peaceful protest over Floyd death
— Trump orders National Guard troops to withdraw from U.S. capital
— Crowds rally outside U.S. embassy in London for second day
— Thousands join Rome’s first big anti-racism rally
— New York mayor lifts curfew “effective immediately”
— Berlin police detain 93 in clashes after peaceful rally ends
— Small anti-racism protest held in Hong Kong
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hundreds of people have attended a peaceful rally outside the U.S. embassy in Budapest to express their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. sparked by the death of George Floyd.
Speeches and songs like Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” were heard on Liberty Square before the crowd knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. That was the amount of time that a white Minneapolis police officer kept his knee on the the neck of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air before eventually going motionless during his May 25 arrest for suspicion of using a counterfeit bill at a shop.
The demonstration was one of many held throughout the world this weekend over Floyd’s death and institutional racism.
Elizabeth Sadusky, a U.S. student in Hungary, said: “I think having these kinds of events around the world is really important to show solidarity and to show the rest of the world that the U.S. isn’t perfect.”
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he’s given the order for National Guard troops to begin withdrawing from the nation’s capital, saying everything now is “under perfect control.”
The District of Columbia government requested some Guard forces last week to assist law enforcement with managing protests after the death of George Floyd. But Trump ordered thousands more troops and federal law enforcement to the city to “dominate” the streets after some instances of looting and violence.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser last week called on Trump to withdraw National Guard troops that some states sent to the city.
Trump tweeted Sunday that “They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed.” He also ordered more than 1,000 active duty troops to be flown to the D.C.-area in reserve, but they have begun returning to their home bases after days of peaceful protests.
MADRID — Several thousand people have gathered in Spain’s main cities to show their support for the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and to denounce racial discrimination in Europe.
A few thousand protesters gathered around the U.S. embassy in Madrid on Sunday. Many carried homemade signs reading “Black Lives Matter,” “Human rights for all” and “Silence is pro-racist.”
Protesters chanted “Police murderers!” and “No justice, no peace!” Police were present but the atmosphere remained peaceful. Social distancing was difficult, however everyone wore a mask.
Thimbo Samb, a spokesman for the group that organized the protest, says the demonstration was to protest the death of George Floyd but also to call attention to racism in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
Thousands also filled a central square in Barcelona and there were other protests called for in smaller cities.
LONDON — Thousands of people are congregating around the U.S. embassy in London to protest against racial injustice in the wake of the brutal killing of George Floyd last month.
Protesters gathered Sunday for a second day running around the gleaming new glass building on Nine Elms Lane, just south of the River Thames.
There are concerns that Sunday’s demonstration could take a violent turn, following clashes on Saturday at another demonstration in central London that saw 14 police officers injured.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, says violence is “simply not acceptable” and has urged those protesting to do so lawfully while also maintaining social distancing of remaining 2 meters (6.5 feet) apart.
Hundreds of people also formed a densely packed crowd in a square in central Manchester, kneeling in silence as a mark of respect for George Floyd.
In Rome’s sprawling People’s Square, thousands of demonstrators turned out for the city’s first major rally against racism.
With a great majority wearing masks to protect themselves against the coronavirus, participants listened to speeches for several hours and held up hand-made placards reading “Black Lives Matter” and “It’s a White Problem.” At one point the protesters, most of them young and some with children or young siblings, kneeled and raised their fists in solidarity with those fighting racism.
“It’s quite unfortunate, you know, in this current 21st century that people of color are being treated as if they are lepers,’’ said 26-year-old Ghanian Abdul Nassir, who was at the rally and is studying in Rome for a master’s degree in business management. He said he occasionally has felt racist attitudes, notably when riding the subway.
Migration of people of color to Italy, including from sub-Saharan Africa, was relatively infrequent until about 25 years ago, and there isn’t yet a vast first-generation population who have come of age.
The noisy, peaceful rally had many organizers, including the grassroots protest group Sardines, a women’s group, a U.S. expatriates organization, a group called Neri Italiani — Black Italians — and a 25-year-old Roman student, Denise Berhane.
Asked by SKYTG24 if Italy has a racism problem, Berhane said, “There are some problems in the country if all these people turned out.”
New York City’s mayor is lifting the city’s curfew ahead of schedule, spurred on by protests against police brutality.
The 8 p.m. citywide curfew, New York’s first in decades, had been set to remain in effect through at least Sunday, with the city planning to lift it at the same time it enters the first phase of reopening after more than two months of a coronavirus shutdown.
But Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday morning in a tweet that the curfew will end “effective immediately.”
“Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city,” de Blasio tweeted “Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart.”
The move followed New York City police pulling back on enforcing the curfew Saturday as thousands took to the streets and parks to protest police brutality, sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
More than two hours after the curfew had passed Saturday night, groups of several hundred demonstrators continued to march in Manhattan and Brooklyn, while police monitored them but took a hands-off approach.
BERLIN — After a day of anti-racism protests across Europe, Berlin police said 93 people were detained in connection with a demonstration in the German capital — most of them after the main rally had ended.
More anti-racism demonstrations were planned for Sunday across the U.K., including one outside the U.S. Embassy, just south of the River Thames.
At least 15,000 people had rallied peacefully in Berlin on Saturday in response to the May 25 death of American George Floyd, which has triggered global protests against racism and police brutality.
Police said several officers and one press photographer were injured in Berlin when bottles and rocks were thrown from a crowd that had gathered despite police orders to clear the city’s Alexander Square an hour after the demonstration was over. Berlin police said 28 officers suffered minor injuries in the scuffles.
HONG KONG — About 20 people protested in Hong Kong to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement at a rally Sunday outside the U.S. consulate in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
“It’s a global issue,” said Quinland Anderson, a 28-year-old British citizen living in Hong Kong. “We have to remind ourselves, despite all we see going on in the U.S. and in the other parts of the world, black lives do indeed matter.”
Organizers called off the rally late Saturday because of the city’s coronavirus restrictions. Those that still showed up gathered in groups of eight, the limit on the size of public gatherings.
LONDON — Britain’s most senior police chief says 14 officers were injured during clashes with protesters in London on Saturday following a largely peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration.
Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said the assaults on officers were “shocking and completely unacceptable.” She said a number of arrests have been made and “justice will follow.”
The clashes broke out in the early evening near the Downing Street offices of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Video footage online showed one police officer colliding with a traffic light when her horse appeared to have bolted. The Met Police said the officer was taken to the hospital but her injuries are not life-threatening.
More demonstrations are planned Sunday across the U.K., including one outside the U.S. Embassy, just south of the River Thames.
Dick urged protesters to find “another way” of making their voices heard during the coronavirus pandemic.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Just before midnight, police began dispersing protesters in Portland near the county’s Justice Center after declaring “a civil disturbance and unlawful assembly.”
Portland police Lt. Tina Jones said on Twitter that a firework had been lobbed over the fence at the Justice Center, injuring a Multnomah County deputy. She says police were making arrests in the area.
In a video posted on Twitter by a Portland Tribune reporter, a voice from a loudspeaker could be heard ordering demonstrators to leave the area “or you will be subject to use of force and arrest.”
In earlier videos, popping noises could be heard as whiffs of smoke wafted from a street filled with demonstrators, and a police officer is seen momentarily clashing with a protester.
RICHMOND, Va. — In the former capital of the Confederacy, demonstrators toppled a statue of Gen. Williams Carter Wickham from its pedestal after a day of mostly peaceful demonstrations across the commonwealth.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that most of the demonstrators had already dispersed when a rope was tied around the Confederate statue, which has stood since 1891 in Richmond’s Monroe Park, which is surrounded by the Virginia Commonwealth University campus. In 2017, some of Wickham’s descendants urged the city to remove the statue.
A Richmond police spokeswoman didn’t know if there were any arrests and the extent of any damage.
Confederate monuments are a major flashpoint in Virginia. Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that a state-owned statue of former Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee would be removed from its perch on the famed Monument Avenue “as soon as possible.”
SEATTLE — Police used flash bang devices and pepper spray to disperse a crowd of protesters in Seattle on Saturday night, the ninth consecutive day of George Floyd protests in the city.
The mayhem in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood followed a large, peaceful demonstration earlier in the day with medical workers demonstrating against racism and police brutality. It also came a day after Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best imposed a 30-day moratorium on the department’s use of one kind of tear gas.
KING-TV reports that a small group of protesters started throwing objects at officers about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Police ordered the crowd to move, then used incendiary devices.
After police were severely criticized by protesters and public officials alike for using tear gas and pepper spray to disperse largely peaceful crowds, Durkan and Best said Friday outside groups would review and update crowd-control policies, including the use of pepper spray and deadly force techniques such as neck and choke holds. She and the mayor added that the ban on one kind of tear gas known as CS could be extended if groups need more time for policy review.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has ordered the city’s police not to use a type of tear gas except as a last resort in life-threatening situations.
Wheeler issued a statement Saturday saying he shares community concerns about the use of CS gas, especially during a respiratory-illness pandemic.
Critics have called on the Portland Police Bureau to permanently ban the use of CS gas on protesters.
The announcement came a day after the mayor said police would no longer use a “long-range acoustical device,” or LRAD, to disperse protesters. The device can emit high-pitched, loud frequencies and can cause hearing damage.
ATLANTA — Protests downtown assumed an almost festive feel at times on Saturday, with Atlanta’s curfew lifted and police and National Guard presence somewhat out of view.
A group of black college band alumni were serenading one main protest area with a tuba-heavy mix of tunes from atop a parking garage.
Students from historically black colleges and other young people marched to City Hall to demand more action on police violence. Jauan Durbin said he began organizing protests after two fellow college students were pulled from their car and shocked with a stun gun last Saturday by police in Atlanta. The incident was caught on video by WGCL-TV and six officers were fired and then criminally charged.
Durbin said youth protesters are calling for increased financial assistance for black businesses from Atlanta’s city government and increased funding for the city’s public school system.
Follow more AP stories on the George Floyd protests and reaction at https://apnews.com/GeorgeFloyd