The White House goes dark as fires rage nearby.
The police fired tear gas near the White House on Sunday night to dissuade protesters who had smashed the windows of prominent buildings, overturned cars and set fires, with smoke seen rising from near the Washington Monument.
The White House went dark, turning off almost all of its external lights, as protesters seethed in dozens of cities, again defying curfews to demonstrate against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in police custody.
It was the sixth day of nationwide unrest since the death of Mr. Floyd last week in Minneapolis. Mayors imposed curfews and several governors mobilized the National Guard, but that did not quell widespread protests in cities across the country, some of them marked by violence and looting.
In Birmingham, Ala., protesters started to tear down a Confederate monument that the city had previously covered with a tarp amid a lawsuit between the state attorney general and the city.
In Boston, a police S.U.V. was set ablaze near the State House, sending up a column of black smoke after a large group of protesters had mostly dispersed.
In Philadelphia, police officers in riot gear and an armored vehicle used pepper spray to try to repel rioters and looters. A wall of officers blocked an entrance ramp to Interstate 676 in the city, where the mass transit system suspended service starting at 6 p.m. as part of a citywide curfew.
In New York, demonstrators marched across the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges, snarling traffic. The Manhattan Bridge was briefly shut down to car traffic. Chaos erupted in Union Square at around 10 p.m., with flames leaping up two stories from trash cans and piles of street debris. The night before in Union Square, the mayor’s daughter, Chiara de Blasio, 25, was among the protesters arrested, according to a police official.
In Chicago, the police superintendent, David Brown, excoriated the looters on Sunday as Gov. J.B. Pritzker activated the National Guard at the city’s request.
In Louisville, Ky., a tense confrontation in the middle of a crowded street was partially defused when a black woman stepped forward and offered a policeman in riot gear a hug. They embraced for nearly a minute.
The Times has reporters on the ground in dozens of cities across the country. Here’s some of what they are seeing.
Peter Baker in Washington
Tonight the city police widened the perimeter, blocking streets streets as far as a mile away from the White House while police in riot gear confronted protesters in the north section of Lafayette Square.
Hundreds of protesters remained from earlier demonstrations in the day, surging and chanting and pushing against the line of police, then falling back. Some threw water bottles, set off fireworks and torched at least one vehicle.
Soon after St. John’s Church, the so-called “church of presidents” where every chief executive going back to James Madison has worshiped, erupted in flames in the basement.
Businesses nearby boarded up after damage from the night before, including the iconic Hay Adams Hotel and the Oval Room restaurant. Businesses far away from the White House boarded up to protect themselves as well. Helicopters hovered overhead.
Jack Nicas in Oakland, Calif.
Close to downtown, a few hundred protesters peacefully marched through the streets, chanting and carrying signs.
Behind the diverse crowd, Donavon Butler, 33, drove a white minivan with his wife and four children inside. His 5-year-old son, Chase, hung out the back window with his right fist raised and his left hand holding a cardboard sign that said “Mama! I can’t breath. Don’t shoot.”
“The world we live in is not equal. People look at us different,” Mr. Butler said he told his son.
Matt Furber in Minneapolis
Steps from the Third Precinct police station that protesters stormed on Thursday night is Stanford Middle School. The pandemic had closed the school since March, but students were still able to receive school lunches. Now, the unrest has made the building inaccessible and shops and supermarkets shuttered, leaving hundreds of the school’s students potentially without food.
Volunteers and school staff jumped into action to start a food drive. Donations included loaves of bread, apples, carrots, rice and beans.
“It is like viral beyond all comprehension,” said Amy Nelson, the school principal. Donations started at 10 a.m. and withing a few hours, she said, there was enough food to fill several trailer trucks.
Richard Fausset in Atlanta
The demonstrators stopped, hundreds of them, black and white, and they sat. A self-appointed leader among them, an entrepreneur named John Wade, praised them for their nonviolence. But he warned them not to keep marching up the hill. The cops were up there fighting it out, he said, with “the non-compliant people.”
The organizers told everyone to turn off Centennial Olympic Park Drive, and veer away from the trouble. A police officer told them not to walk forward.
Then the tear gas started.
People chanted the way they do at Atlanta ball games, riffing on the old song “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”
“We ready, we ready, we ready for y’all,” they sang.
Jack Healy in Denver
Two Atlanta police officers were fired for using excessive force during a protest.
Two Atlanta police officers were fired on Sunday, one day after videos emerged showing them using stun guns on two black college students and then dragging them out of their car.
Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, announced the dismissal of the two officers, whom she did not name, during a news conference on Sunday. She said their actions had constituted “excessive force.”
Ms. Bottoms said three other officers who were involved in the arrests had been reassigned to desk duty while the department reviews their actions.
“It was disturbing on many levels, the least of not which was that there clearly was an excessive use of force,” Ms. Bottoms said. “We understand that our officers are working very long hours under an enormous amount of stress, but we also understand that the use of excessive force is never acceptable.”
Ms. Bottoms said she had reviewed police body camera footage of the confrontation and that it should be released immediately. The episode was broadcast live on local television on Saturday night, showing a group of officers stopping a man and woman in their car near downtown Atlanta roughly 45 minutes after a curfew went into effect at 9 p.m. It was unclear what prompted the police to stop the car.
The actions of the Atlanta officers came amid intensifying scrutiny of how law enforcement was responding to demonstrators.
Chief Erika Shields of the Atlanta Police Department condemned the actions of the officers, saying that the two students had been “manhandled” and that the episode had only underscored the fear and wariness minorities have of the police.
“I am genuinely sorry,” Chief Shields said. “This is not who we are. This is not what we’re about.”
Violence erupts in New York City.
The most jolting scenes of violence late Sunday appeared to take place in Manhattan, where chaos erupted in Union Square at around 10 p.m. Flames nearly two stories high leapt from trash cans and piles of street debris in the neighborhood, sending acrid smoke into the air.
Protesters threw bottles and other objects at police officers armed with batons who pushed into crowds on Broadway and nearby side streets. As flames spread across one downtown street, officers ordered protesters to disperse. In SoHo, looters smashed windows and stole merchandise from upscale stores.
Around 11 p.m., hundreds of protesters faced off against the police near the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Overhead, a police helicopter monitored the scene.
Police vehicles raced to the area as water bottles and other objects rained down on officers. Peaceful protesters fled the area as tension rose, but others moved closer to the police, who quickly swept demonstrators out of the area.
A man is arrested after driving a truck through a crowd of Minnesota protesters.
A tanker truck barreled through thousands of protesters in Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon, coming to a stop as the crowd parted to avoid getting hit.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said that no one had been struck by the truck, although some protesters told local media that they had seen people with injuries. The police said the driver was “inciting” the peaceful protesters, and that he had been arrested and treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
As the tanker truck came to a stop, demonstrators who had just sprinted from its path swarmed back toward it and pulled the driver out of the cab, according to videos from the scene. As people ran toward the driver, several protesters shouted for them to not hurt him and tried to create a buffer zone.
The confrontation took place on Interstate 35, which had been partly closed to traffic because of the protest, and the police said they were working with transportation officials to determine how the truck had gotten onto the highway.
“I don’t know the motives of the driver at this time, but at this point in time, to not have tragedy and many deaths is simply an amazing thing,” Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota said at a news conference. He called video of the episode “horrifying.”
The protest had been peaceful and well organized; the Department of Public Safety had tweeted updates about the group’s location and said its officers were working to keep the demonstrators safe.
Trump is heard, but not seen, on a simmering Sunday.
A combative President Trump on Sunday berated Democrats for not being tough enough on violent protesters and attributed the turmoil roiling the nation to radical leftists.
Spurning advice from some campaign advisers to deliver a nationally televised address, Mr. Trump instead spent Sunday out of sight.
But he kept on tweeting.
“Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors,” he wrote. Addressing his presumptive Democratic presidential opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., he added: “These people are ANARCHISTS. Call in our National Guard NOW. The World is watching and laughing at you and Sleepy Joe. Is this what America wants? NO!!!”
The president also said his administration “will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” employing a shorthand for “anti-fascist.” But antifa is a movement of activists who dress in black and call themselves anarchists, not an organization with a clear structure that can be penalized under law. Moreover, American law applies terrorist designations to foreign entities, not domestic groups.
While Mr. Trump has been a focus of anger, particularly in the crowds in Washington, aides repeatedly have tried to explain to him that the protests were not only about him, but about broader, systemic issues related to race. Privately, Mr. Trump’s advisers complained about his tweets, acknowledging that they were pouring fuel on an already incendiary situation.
“Those are not constructive tweets, without any question,” Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the Senate, said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Could protesting spread the coronavirus? Officials are worried.
Mass protests that have brought thousands of people out of their homes and onto the streets in cities across America are raising the specter of new coronavirus outbreaks, prompting political leaders, physicians and public health experts to warn that the crowds could cause a surge in cases.
More than 100,000 Americans have already died of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. People of color have been particularly hard hit, with rates of hospitalizations and deaths among black Americans far exceeding those of whites.
While many political leaders affirmed the right of protesters to express themselves, they urged the demonstrators to wear face masks and maintain social distancing, both to protect themselves and to prevent further community spread of the virus.
The protests are occurring as many states have warily begun reopening after weeks of stay-at-home orders.
In Los Angeles, where demonstrations led to the closing of virus testing sites on Saturday, Mayor Eric Garcetti warned that the protests could become so-called “super-spreader events” that can lead to an explosion of secondary infections. And Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican, expressed concern that his state would see a spike in cases in about two weeks, which is about how long it takes for symptoms to emerge after someone is infected.
Some infectious disease experts were reassured by the fact that the protests were held outdoors, saying the open-air settings could mitigate the risk of transmission. In addition, many of the demonstrators were wearing masks.
National Guard commanders say troops are meant only to keep the peace.
As President Trump painted the National Guard as key to restoring order and taunted Democratic governors and mayors for not calling out the troops, the generals in charge of troops in three states said on Sunday afternoon that they had been only in support roles and had not used any force to put down the civil unrest.
The leaders of the Minnesota, Georgia and Colorado National Guards made clear that while troops had probably had a deterrent effect, the bulk of the credit for containing the violence went to local police officers. National Guard forces have been used mostly to secure buildings, allowing more police officers to move to the front lines, they said.
“Our purpose is to allow our local law enforcement professionals to do their jobs,” said Gen. Jon Jensen, the leader of Minnesota’s National Guard. “We do that by relieving them of items like infrastructure security.”
The forces in Minnesota and Georgia are armed, but the Colorado troops have only nonlethal weaponry. The generals did not describe under what conditions they would use force, only that they would be proportional and used in self-defense.
General Jensen said he had requested additional military police battalions from the National Guard forces of neighboring states, but said he would not recommend that the Minnesota governor request regular Army forces for that job, as Mr. Trump has offered.
Army Maj. Gen. Thomas Carden Jr., the adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard, expressed dismay that his forces had to be called out for a domestic civil unrest mission.
“We in America should not get used to or accept uniformed service members of any variety having to be put in a position where they are having to secure people inside the United States of America,” General Carden said. “While we are honored to do it, this is a sign of the times that we have to do better as a country.”
Protests spread to London and Berlin.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square in central London on Sunday afternoon and marched toward the United States Embassy, the most visible sign of popular support overseas for the protests across the United States against police killings of black people. Protests also took place in Germany and Denmark.
Holding signs and clapping their hands, the protesters in England gathered in Trafalgar Square in defiance of stay-at-home restrictions in effect across Britain to fight the coronavirus pandemic. They chanted “I can’t breathe,” “Black lives matter” and “No justice, no peace” before crossing the River Thames to march peacefully to the embassy.
The protest march on Sunday echoed one on Saturday in the Peckham district of South London and another one on Sunday outside the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen. Another London march is planned for next Sunday.
Several hundred protesters also rallied outside the U.S. Embassy in Berlin on Sunday, holding up signs saying “Justice for George Floyd” and “Stop killing us,” Reuters reported.
As cities and states brace for more demonstrations in the coming days, the authorities have responded by calling in more resources and readjusting previously held plans.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster on Sunday, an action that enables him to designate federal agents to serve as Texas peace officers. The Republican governor, who activated the Texas National Guard a day earlier, issued the disaster order after protests in the state’s major cities touched off confrontations between demonstrators and law enforcement.
“As protests have turned violent in various areas across the state, it is crucial that we maintain order, uphold public safety, and protect against property damage or loss,” Mr. Abbott said in announcing the disaster declaration. “Every Texan and every American has the right to protest and I encourage all Texans to exercise their First Amendment rights,” he said. “However, violence against others and the destruction of property is unacceptable and counterproductive.”
And in South Florida, Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County postponed the planned reopening of beaches following the lockdown because of the pandemic. Miami-Dade beaches had been scheduled to open on Monday.
“The beaches will remain closed until the curfew order is lifted,” Mr. Gimenez said in a statement on Sunday. He cited an emergency order he signed on Saturday imposing a countywide curfew after a small group of protesters set police cars on fire outside the Miami Police Department’s downtown headquarters.
The beach reopenings would have involved a significant police presence. Condominium pools and hotels in the county will be allowed to reopen on Monday as planned.
Reporting was contributed by Mike Baker, Peter Baker, Julian Barnes, Johanna Barr, Ellen Barry, Katie Benner, Alan Blinder, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Chris Cameron, Shaila Dewan, Johnny Diaz, Caitlin Dickerson, Nicholas Fandos, Tess Felder, Ben Fenwick, Manny Fernandez, Russell Goldman, Maggie Haberman, Rebecca Halleck, Zach Johnk, Steve Lohr, Patricia Mazzei, Shawn McCreesh, Christopher Mele, David Montgomery, Derek M. Norman, Elian Peltier, Roni Caryn Rabin, Rick Rojas, Simon Romero, Marc Santora, Charlie Savage, Neil Vigdor, Ali Watkins, Mihir Zaveri and Karen Zraick.