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As the day unfolded: National Guard deployed in New York, LA and Washington as Trump threatens Black Lives Matter demonstrators with US military

Thanks for reading. This is Matt Bungard signing off. We’ll be back tomorrow with more coverage of the ongoing fallout in the United States, and around the world.

This is what you need to know from today:

We’ll continue our live coverage on Thursday.

Former ambassador to the United States Dennis Richardson says the riots raging across America have been made worse by President Donald Trump’s divisive leadership, the growth in armed militias on the right and left, the biggest economic downturn since the 1930s and the coronavirus.

Mr Richardson, Australia’s most experienced public servant when he stepped down as the secretary of the Department of Defence in 2017, said “one of the big differences between now and the past is that today we have a president who appears to relish and thrive on division”.

Former ambassador to the US Dennis Richardson says the US riots have been inflamed by President Donald Trump's "divisive" leadership.

Former ambassador to the US Dennis Richardson says the US riots have been inflamed by President Donald Trump’s “divisive” leadership.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The former senior diplomat and spy boss said Prime Minister Scott Morrison was right to ask the Australian embassy in Washington to investigate a police attack on a Channel 7 television crew, but there was little Australia could do to calm the situation.

Mr Trump has been criticised by politicians from both major parties in the US after law enforcement officers aggressively cleared protesters away from a Washington park to make way for him to have a photo opportunity at St John’s Church.

Read the full story here

Chief constables from across the UK have issued a joint statement saying they “stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life”.

They have also urged people who want to make their voices heard to be aware that “coronavirus remains a deadly disease and there are still restrictions in place to prevent its spread, which include not gathering outside in groups of more than six people”.

People hold placards as they join a spontaneous Black Lives Matter march at Trafalgar Square in London.

People hold placards as they join a spontaneous Black Lives Matter march at Trafalgar Square in London.Credit:Getty Images

In a statement, the chief constables, the chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the chief executive of the College of Policing and the President of the Police Superintendents’ Association said: “We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life. Justice and accountability should follow.

“We are also appalled to see the violence and damage that has happened in so many US cities since then. Our hearts go out to all those affected by these terrible events and hope that peace and order will soon be restored.

“In the UK we have a long-established tradition of policing by consent, working in communities to prevent crime and solve problems. Officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary,” the statement said.

“We will tackle bias, racism or discrimination wherever we find it.

“Policing is complex and challenging and sometimes we fall short. When we do, we are not afraid to shine a light on injustices or to be held to account.”

PA

Washington: Major American cities experienced a noticeable reduction in vandalism and conflict on Tuesday night (Wednesday AEST), even as peaceful protests against police brutality continued to multiply across the country in response to the killing of George Floyd.

President Donald Trump faced blowback from religious leaders, some Republican politicians and ex-military leaders for his controversial threat to deploy the military in US cities and his decision to stage a photo opportunity at a church near the White House after protesters were forcibly cleared from the area.

New York City police officers employed more effective tactics to exert control when a citywide curfew went into effect at 8pm after being roundly criticised for failing to prevent widespread looting in Manhattan the previous night.

“So far, the curfew is certainly helping, based on everything I’ve seen in Brooklyn and Manhattan over the last three hours,” mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter.

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What began as an attempt by two music insiders to pause business as usual across the industry on Tuesday, in response to the protests sweeping the nation, broadened and morphed overnight on social media into a less focused action, resulting in a sea of black boxes across Instagram and other platforms.

Baker Boy matched his post with a strong plea urging his fans to take their “activism further than your social media”.

Baker Boy matched his post with a strong plea urging his fans to take their “activism further than your social media”.Credit:Dean Sewell

Brands including Spotify, Live Nation, Apple, TikTok and many of the largest record companies said on Monday that they would cease most operations the following day, in light of the demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The industry blackout initiative, which started under the hashtag, #TheShowMustBePaused, was the brainchild of two black women who work in music marketing, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang.

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Police in Istanbul have dispersed a small group of demonstrators who gathered in the Turkish city to denounce police violence and to stand in solidarity with protesters in the United States. At least 29 demonstrators were detained, Turkey’s state-run agency reported.

Anadolu Agency said riot police broke up the demonstration in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district late Tuesday after the group of about 50 activists ignored calls to disperse.

Some of the anti-police violence activists were seen carrying a poster of George Floyd, who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck while the handcuffed black man called out that he couldn’t breathe.

Floyd’s death on May 25 sparked protests that spread across the U.S. and beyond.

Turkish authorities frequently impose bans on public demonstrations or gatherings on security grounds. Human rights groups often accuse police of using disproportionate force to break up demonstrations.

AP

Le Pecq: Three days after George Floyd died with a Minneapolis police officer choking off his air, another black man writhed on a street in Paris as a police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest.

Immobilisation techniques where officers apply pressure with their knees on prone suspects are used in policing around the world and have long drawn criticism.

One reason why Floyd’s death is sparking anger and touching nerves globally is that such techniques have been blamed for asphyxiations and other deaths in police custody beyond American shores, often involving non-white suspects.

“We cannot say that the American situation is foreign to us,” said French lawmaker Francois Ruffin, who has pushed for a ban on the police use of face-down holds that are implicated in multiple deaths in France, a parliamentary effort put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic.

The muscular arrest on May 28 in Paris of a black man who was momentarily immobilised face-up with an officer’s knee and upper shin pressing down on his jaw, neck and upper chest is among those that have drawn angry comparisons with the killing of Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis.

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Pope Francis has broken his silence on the unrest in the United States, saying no one can “turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion” but condemning violence as “self-destructive and self-defeating.”

Francis, who dedicated the entire English-language section of his weekly audience to the US situation, implored God for national reconciliation and peace.

Pope Francis on Easter Sunday.

Pope Francis on Easter Sunday.Credit:AFP

He called the death of George Floyd tragic, and said he was praying for him and all those who had been killed as a result of the “sin of racism”.

Floyd, an African American, died after a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on his neck for several minutes.

AP

Chicago: In the days since US President Donald Trump blamed antifa activists for an eruption of violence at protests over police killings of black people, social media has lit up with false rumours that the far-left-leaning “group” is transporting people to wreak havoc on small cities across America.

The false rumours are part of a wave of hoaxes, conspiracy theories and other falsehoods surging on social media following George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis.

A poster with the inscription 'Justice for George' and 'Antifa on the offensive' is held by a protester demonstrating against police brutality.

A poster with the inscription ‘Justice for George’ and ‘Antifa on the offensive’ is held by a protester demonstrating against police brutality.Credit:DPA

Among them are claims that Floyd is not really dead and that billionaire philanthropist George Soros is bringing in protesters on convoys of buses, and supplying them with bricks.

Many viral posts misrepresent historical events, often falsely claiming they relate to the current wave of protests. One shared hundreds of thousands of times carries a caption claiming it shows a black man who is actually an FBI agent being arrested. The video dates from 2019 and the man being briefly detained in the video is not an FBI agent.

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Netflix Australia has encouraged viewers to turn off the streaming service tonight to watch the National Indigenous Television (NITV) program The Point instead.

“Like many Aussies, we’re keen to educate ourselves more about racism, both overseas and at home,” Netflix Australia wrote on Facebook.

“If you want to know why the Black Lives Matter protests have resonated with Indigenous Australians, switch off Netflix tonight and watch The Point on NITV from 8.30pm AEST.”

The Point is a weekly hour-long panel hosted by Rachael Hocking and John Paul Janke telling stories from remote and regional Australia.

The program is on NITV, part of SBS, every Wednesday night.

NITV has welcomed the post from Netflix Australia, which had around 5,200 Facebook reactions and hundreds of comments in 45 minutes.

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