Protests against police violence and racism continued Monday night for the fifth night in a row in New York City, escalating into large-scale looting that targeted luxury stores along the city’s main shopping avenues.
Despite a 11:00 p.m. curfew decreed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, protesters continued to pound the pavement overnight, as several of them attacked store windows, looting several of them, including the infamous Macy’s stores in Herald Square in midtown Manhattan, where police chased looters inside this large, multi-story Department store.
Acts of vandalism and looting have been observed in several places in midtown Manhattan, while most of the facades of large luxury brands on the famous Fifth Avenue have been barricaded to prevent their looting.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted that the curfew, announced just hours before it went into effect, had failed to prevent the acts of vandalism that have marred the generally peaceful protests of the past few days. Therefore, he announced that a new curfew will be imposed on Tuesday from 8:00 p.m. this time around, as most acts of violence take place after dark.
The day before, more than 200 people had been arrested by the police during the night from Sunday to Monday, several of whom were involved in acts of vandalism and looting, especially in the trendy district of Soho.
Saturday, the city had also known a very agitated night with violent clashes between demonstrators and police officers which left dozens of injured, led to hundreds of arrests and considerable material damage, including more than fifty police cars set on fire. .
The mayor estimated that during the peak of the protests on Saturday night, between 5,000 to 6,000 people had pounded the streets across the city.
The protests in New York are part of a wave of protests in dozens of major cities across the United States, sparked by a video capturing the last moments in the life of George Floyd, an African American killed during his arrest muscled by white cops in Minneapolis.
The video shows one of the officers kneeling on his neck for several minutes, as Mr. Floyd was handcuffed and restrained on the ground by two other officers. The recording broadcast by television stations and on social media also shows that before losing consciousness and succumbing, George Floyd kept telling the police that he could no longer breathe. A phrase taken up in chorus by the thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets across the country to decry police violence and racism in a country still haunted by its past of discrimination and racial violence.