People have defied curfews to mount a seventh night of protests in the United States, where outrage at the suffocation of a black man by police has spread from Minneapolis to more than 100 cities.

Five officers were shot and wounded in an escalation of tensions between police and crowds protesting the killing of George Floyd in police custody.

President Donald Trump taunted state governors for not embracing his proposal to send in the US military to quell unrest.

Demonstrators smashed windows and looted stores in New York City, including luxury retailers on Fifth Avenue, and set fire to a Los Angeles strip mall. Four officers were wounded in St. Louis and one in Las Vegas who was critically wounded, authorities said.

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was outraged by the violence and looting in New York City on Monday, and that the city’s mayor and police force “did not do their job last night.” He said he believed Mayor Bill de Blasio underestimated the scope of the problem.

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said nearly 700 arrests were made,

Cuomo also said he may “displace” the mayor and order the National Guard into New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio poured cold water on the idea and said when forces not trained to handle New York City crowds intervened, “still with loaded weapons and under stress, horrible things happen.”

The head of the National Guard, General Joseph Lengyel, said violence had decreased across the United States on Monday night, even as protest activity was sustained or increased. He said no Guard members were injured overnight.

Lengyel said 18,000 Guard members were assisting local law enforcement in 29 states, a figure that was increasing.

SOURCE – RADIO NEW ZEALAND

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