The worst race riots that the United States has seen for decades reached the White House, with AFP reporting that tear gas and flash bang devices were used against crowds who had gathered outside President Donald Trump's official residence, chanting, lighting fires and holding up protest signs.
AP reports claimed that, on Friday, when protests started raging outside the White House, Secret Service agents rushed Trump to a White House bunker. Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks, the agency reported.
Tense protests over the death of George Floyd and other police killings of black people grew Saturday from New York to Tulsa to Los Angeles, with police cars set ablaze and reports of injuries mounting on all sides as the country convulsed through another night of unrest after months of coronavirus lockdowns.
The protests, which began in Minneapolis following Floyd's death Monday after a police officer pressed a knee on his neck until he stopped breathing, have left parts of the city a grid of broken windows, burned-out buildings and ransacked stores. The unrest has since become a national phenomenon as protesters decry years of deaths at police hands.
Tens of thousands of people were in the streets across the country, many of them not wearing masks or observing social distancing, raising concerns among health experts about the potential for spreading the coronavirus pandemic at a time when much of the country is in the process of reopening society and the economy.
Few corners of America were untouched, according to agency reports.
In Washington, the National Guard was deployed outside the White House, where chanting crowds taunted law enforcement officers. Dressed in camouflage and holding shields, the troops stood in a tight line a few yards from the crowd, preventing them from pushing forward.
In Philadelphia, at least 13 officers were injured when peaceful protests turned violent and at least four police vehicles were set on fire. Other fires were set throughout downtown.
In Salt Lake City, protesters defied a curfew and National Guard troops were deployed by Utah's governor. Demonstrators flipped a police car and lit it on fire, and another vehicle was later set ablaze. Police said six people were arrested and a police officer was injured after being struck in the head with a baseball bat.
In Los Angeles, protesters chanted Black Lives Matter, some within inches of the face shields of officers. Police used batons to move the crowd back and fired rubber bullets. A graffiti-covered police car burned in the street.
And in New York City, dangerous confrontations flared repeatedly as officers made arrests and cleared streets. A video showed two NYPD cruisers lurching into a crowd of demonstrators who were pushing a barricade against one of them and pelting it with objects. Several people were knocked to the ground, and it was unclear if anyone was hurt.
-Inputs from agencies