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Mega rallies against racism take place across US

Huge peaceful rallies have taken place across the US against racism and police brutality on the 12th day of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

The largest appeared to be in Washington DC, where protesters – many of them carrying placards saying “Black Lives Matter” – gathered peacefully near the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial and outside Lafayette Park, next to the White House, at the newly renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Mayor Muriel Bowser welcomed people, saying the crowds had sent a message to President Donald Trump. On Monday, federal law enforcement officers fired tear gas to clear a protest in the area ahead of a visit to a church by the president.




“If he can take over Washington DC, he can come for any state, and none of us will be safe,” she said. “Our soldiers should not be treated that way, they should not be asked to move on American citizens.”

Ms Bowser has requested the withdrawal of all federal law enforcement officers and National Guard troops from the city, saying their presence is “unnecessary”.

Earlier in New York, crowds crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, while in San Francisco demonstrators briefly shut the Golden Gate Bridge. In Chicago, about 30,000 people rallied in Union Park, and a Hollywood intersection was blocked by protesters in Los Angeles.



And in Richmond, Virginia, a statue of a Confederate general was pulled down from its pedestal.

There were also protests in Atlanta and Philadelphia, where crowds chanted, “We need justice, we need love”.

The movement seeks to address longstanding systemic racism and inequalities, from police brutality to mass incarceration to healthcare.

Black Americans are jailed at five times the rate of white Americans and sentenced for drug offences six times more, often despite equal rates of drug use, according to NAACP. Segregation and inequalities  across school systems, housing and other public resources are also demands.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people paid their respects to Mr Floyd in North Carolina, where he was born, before a memorial service. A private memorial service was then held for members of his family. Governor Roy Cooper ordered that flags be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Saturday in Mr Floyd’s honour. Mr Floyd’s funeral is due to take place on Tuesday in Houston, where he lived before moving to Minneapolis.

Mr Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis on 25 May. Video showed a white police officer kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes while he is pinned to the floor.

Officer Derek Chauvin has been dismissed and charged with murder. Three other officers who were at the scene have also been sacked and charged with aiding and abetting.

Large anti-racism protests also took place in a number of other countries. In the UK, Parliament Square in central London was filled with people despite calls by the government to avoid mass gatherings for fear of spreading the coronavirus.




In Australia, there were major protests in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that focused on the treatment of indigenous Australians. There were also demonstrations in France, Germany and Spain.