Violent protests raged across parts of the US on Saturday over the death of George Floyd and other police killings of black men.
Police cars were set ablaze and there were reports of injuries mounting on all sides, reports AP.
Triggered by the death of Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday after a police officer kneeled on his neck, the unrest has since become a national phenomenon with protesters decrying years of deaths at police hands.
But the large crowd protesters, many not wearing masks or maintaining social distancing, health experts fear it could further spread coronavirus infection as the country emerges from months in lockdown.
After a tumultuous Friday night, racially diverse crowds took to the streets again for mostly peaceful demonstrations in dozens of cities from coast to coast. The previous day's protests also started calmly, but many descended into violence later in the day.
"Our country has a sickness. We have to be out here," said Brianna Petrisko, among those at lower Manhattan's Foley Square, where most were wearing masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. "This is the only way we're going to be heard."
In Minneapolis, 29-year-old Sam Allkija said the damage seen in recent days reflects longstanding frustration and rage in the black community. "I don't condone them," he said. "But you have to look deeper into why these riots are happening."
Minnesota Gov Tim Walz fully mobilised the state's National Guard and promised a massive show of force.
"The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd," Walz said. "It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities."
More than a dozen major cities nationwide imposed overnight curfews. People were also told to be off the streets of Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle and Minneapolis.
The unrest comes at a time when most Americans have spent months in lockdown. Hundreds of people were arrested Friday, and police used batons, rubber bullets and pepper spray on crowds in some cities. Many departments reported injured officers, while social media platforms were awash in images of police using forceful tactics, throwing people to the ground, using bicycles as shields and in one instance trampling a protester while on horseback.
Authorities vowed to crack down on lawbreakers.
"Quite frankly, I'm ready to just lock people up," Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said at a news conference.
This week's unrest recalled the riots in Los Angeles nearly 30 years ago after the acquittal of the white police officers who beat Rodney King, a black motorist who had led them on a high-speed chase.
The protests of Floyd's killing have gripped many more cities, but the losses in Minneapolis have yet to approach the staggering totals Los Angeles saw during five days of rioting in 1992, when over 60 people died, 2,000-plus were injured and thousands arrested, with property damage topping $1 billion.
Many protesters spoke of frustration that Floyd's death was one more in a litany. It came in the wake of the killing in Georgia of Ahmaud Arbery and in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic that has thrown millions out of work, killed more than 100,000 people in the US and disproportionately affected black people.
The officer who held his knee to Floyd's neck was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. But many protesters are demanding the arrests of the three other officers involved.
Trump stoked the anger, firing off a series of tweets criticising Minnesota's response, ridiculing people who protested outside the White House and warning that if protesters had breached its fence they would "have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen."
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 6 million on Sunday morning, according to data provided by the Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, death toll from the virus rose to 369,085. So far, 2,564,462 COVID-19 patients have recovered.
The United States has the highest number of confirmed cases – 1,769,776 – and the highest death toll – 103,768.
Among other countries, Brazil has recorded 498,440 cases.
Read Also: Coronavirus: Global cases near 6 million
Russia has confirmed 396,575 cases, the UK 274,219, Spain 239,228, Italy 232,664 and France 188,752.
The UK has the second-highest death toll at 38,458, followed by Italy (33,340 deaths), France (28,774), Brazil (28,834) and Spain (27,125), according to Johns Hopkins University.
Coronavirus cases were first reported in China December last year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus crisis a pandemic on March 11.
Coronavirus situation in Bangladesh
Coronavirus cases in Bangladesh rose to 44,608 with the detection of 1,764 new cases in 24 hours on Saturday.
Besides, the country also reported 28 more death during the same period, raising the death tally to 610.
Besides, 360 patients recovered, the health authorities said. So far, 9,375 people have made recovery.
The government has decided to allow limited operation of public transport and offices from Sunday to June 15. But health experts say the number of new cases and deaths will rise if people do not properly follow the health guidelines.
Following the arrest of a CNN crew on live television by police on Friday, an apologetic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz promised that journalists would not be interfered with in reporting on violent protests following the death of George Floyd.
CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and two colleagues were released within an hour after network chief executive Jeff Zucker called Walz to demand answers about why they were led away and held in a police van.
"We have got to ensure that there is a safe spot for journalism to tell this story," Walz said.
Jimenez and colleagues Bill Kirkos and Leonel Mendez were doing a live shot for CNN's "New Day" shortly after 5 a.m. Central Time, describing a night of fire and anger in the wake of Floyd's death after a Minneapolis police office knelt on his neck. Fired officer Derek Chauvin was charged with murder in that case later Friday.
When first approached by officers, Jimenez, who is black, told them, "put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way."
After being told he was being arrested and his hands were tied behind his back, Jimenez asked why he was being arrested. He did not get an answer.
The Minnesota State Patrol said on Twitter that the journalists were among four people arrested as troopers were "clearing the streets and restoring order" following the protests. The patrol said the CNN journalists "were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media."
It's not clear why they were confused: Jimenez was holding what appeared to be a laminated ID card before his hands were secured, and his fellow crew members told police that they were from CNN and showing the scene live on the air.
"I've never seen anything like this," CNN "New Day" co-anchor John Berman said.
After being released, Jimenez said that he was glad that his arrest was shown on the air.
"You don't have to doubt my story," he said. "It's not filtered in any way. You saw it for your own eyes. That gave me a little bit of comfort. But it was definitely nerve-wracking."
At a later news conference, Walz said that "I take full responsibility. There is absolutely no reason something like that should happen ... This is a very public apology to that team."
The arrest drew widespread condemnation across the news industry. CNN competitors MSNBC, CBS News and Fox News all issued statements in support of Jimenez, along with the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists.
CNN accepted Walz's apology, saying the network appreciated the sincerity of his words.
Walz's words in support of journalists have impact at a time when the news media is often under attack, said Jane E. Kirtley, Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law and director of the Silha Center at the University of Minnesota.
"It's really important for the governor to make that kind of statement to emphasize to everyone, especially law enforcement, that the press has an important job to do ... and they need to be respected," said Kirtley, who lives blocks away from the protests and could still smell smoke from the fires on Friday.
An invasion of locusts has spread across Pakistan, causing damage to crops and orchards and posing a threat to food security in an impoverished Islamic nation already struggling to tackle a virus pandemic.
Massive swarms of the desert locust, which experts say originates in Africa and is the most destructive of the locust species, began damaging crops in Pakistan last month.
But the situation worsened this week and authorities began dispatching aircraft and spraying machines filled with pesticides mounted on vehicles to eliminate the insects, which are roughly the length of a finger and fly together by the millions.
Farmers could be seen wading through clouds of the insects as some tried to kill them with sticks.
Chaudhry Asghar, an agriculture officer in the Punjab provincial capital of Multan, said millions of desert locusts had already damaged orchards, crops and vegetables.
"We have intensified efforts to save our crops from any further invasion of locusts," Syed Fahar Imam, national food security minister, said Friday. He said the government will buy five more aircraft for spraying crops.
The insects have wreaked havoc on swathes of farmland in eastern Punjab, southern Sindh and southwestern Baluchistan province. They also attacked crops in the northwest bordering Afghanistan.
The locusts have also brought agricultural destruction to neighboring India, where critics pointed the finger at Pakistan as a new breeding ground for the desert locusts. Pakistani officials said no country should blame another for the situation, but all affected countries need to make collective efforts to prevent a possible food crisis in the region.
Farmers say while crops of rabi, a type of grain, were sown in winter and harvested in the spring, locusts are damaging cotton and vegetable crops sown in April.
"I have already lost my cotton crop and vegetables because of these locusts," said Abdul Rehman, a farmer in Baluchistan province. He wondered what they would eat if the locusts continued unchecked.
The National Disaster Management Authority said resources were being mobilized and operations were underway to curb the locust invasion.
In a statement, it said 1,150 teams of experts have expanded operations by spraying swarms of desert locusts in 61 districts across the country. Arrangements were also being made to combat another possible attack of desert locusts expected in July and August.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has struggled to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, with more than 64,000 cases confirmed and more than 1,300 fatalities. The country on Friday reported 57 virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, its most in a single day since the outbreak began in February. Infections increased recently across Pakistan, including in the capital of Islamabad, after the government eased lockdown restrictions, ignoring warnings from medical professionals.
Despite increasing numbers of cases and virus-related fatalities, Pakistan announced Friday that it would resume international air travel, starting on Saturday, after flights were suspended in March to contain the spread of virus. It said all required measures will be taken for the safety of passengers by deploying medical teams at airports to screen passengers and cabin crews.
Demonstrators marched, stopped traffic and in some cases lashed out violently at police as protests erupted Friday in dozens of U.S. cities following the killing of George Floyd after a white officer pressed a knee into his neck while taking him into custody in Minnesota.
In Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and beyond, thousands of protesters carried signs that said: “He said I can’t breathe. Justice for George.” They chanted ”“No justice, no peace” and “Say his name. George Floyd.”
After hours of peaceful protest in downtown Atlanta, some demonstrators suddenly turned violent, smashing police cars, setting one on fire, spray-painting the iconic logo sign at CNN headquarters, and breaking into a restaurant.
The crowd pelted officers with bottles, chanting “Quit your jobs.” People watched the scene from rooftops, some laughing as skirmishes broke out. Demonstrators ignored police demands to disperse. Some protesters moved to the city’s major interstate thoroughfare to try to block traffic.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms passionately addressed the protesters at a news conference: “This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.”
“You are disgracing our city,” she told protesters. “You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country. We are better than this. We are better than this as a city. We are better than this as a country. Go home, go home.”
Bottoms was flanked by rappers T.I. and Killer Mike, as well as King’s daughter, Bernice King.
Killer Mike cried as he spoke.
“We have to be better than this moment. We have to be better than burning down our own homes. Because if we lose Atlanta what have we got?” he said.
After Mayor Bottoms appealed for calm, the violence continued. More cars were set on fire, a Starbucks was smashed up, the windows of the College Football Hall of Fame were broken, and the iconic Omni Hotel was vandalized.
In Brooklyn, crowds of demonstrators chanted at police officers lined up outside the Barclays Center. There were several moments of struggle, as some in the crowd pushed against metal barricades and police pushed back.
Scores of water bottles flew from the crowd toward the officers, and in return police sprayed an eye-irritating chemical at the group twice.
The names of black people killed by police, including Floyd and Eric Garner, who died on Staten Island in 2014, were on signs carried by those in the crowd, and in their chants.
“It’s my duty to be out here,” said Brianna Petrisko, among those at Foley Square in lower Manhattan, where most were wearing masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Our country has a sickness. We have to be out here. This is the only way we’re going to be heard.”
In Houston, where George Floyd grew up, several thousand people rallied in front of City Hall. Police had apparently taken into custody a woman who had a rifle and had tried to use it to incite the crowd.
Jimmy Ohaz, 19, came from the nearby city of Richmond, Texas.
“My question is how many more, how many more? I just want to live in a future where we all live in harmony and we’re not oppressed.”