AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT - InfoNews

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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

June 02, 2020 - 8:04 PM

Protesters return to the streets as Trump decries 'lowlifes'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Undeterred by curfews, protesters streamed back into the nation's streets Tuesday, hours after President Donald Trump pressed governors to put down the violence set off by George Floyd's death and demanded that New York call up the National Guard to stop the “lowlifes and losers.”

As more demonstrations began taking shape around the country, and cities including Washington prepared for the possibility of more violence, the president amplified his hard-line calls of a day earlier, in which he threatened to send in the military to restore order if governors didn’t do it.

“NYC, CALL UP THE NATIONAL GUARD,” he tweeted. “The lowlifes and losers are ripping you apart. Act fast!”

One day after a crackdown on peaceful protesters near the White House, thousands of demonstrators massed a block away from the presidential mansion, facing law enforcement personnel standing behind a black chain-link fence. The fence was put up overnight to block access to Lafayette Park, just across the street from the White House.

“Last night pushed me way over the edge,” said Jessica DeMaio, 40, of Washington, who attended a Floyd protest Tuesday for the first time. “Being here is better than being at home feeling helpless."

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The Latest: Thousands on New York City streets after curfew

The Latest on the May 25 death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck:

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— Thousands of protesters on New York City streets after curfew.

— Protest in Washington on Tuesday lacking tension of previous night's demonstrations.

— Thousands march in protest in Los Angeles and other California cities.

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Protests in top 25 virus hot spots ignite fears of contagion

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — As demonstrators flooded streets across America to decry the killing of George Floyd, public health experts watched in alarm — the close proximity of protesters and their failures in many cases to wear masks, along with the police using tear gas, could fuel new transmissions of the coronavirus.

Many of the protests broke out in places where the virus is still circulating widely in the population. In fact, an Associated Press review found that demonstrations have taken place in every one of the 25 U.S. communities with the highest concentrations of new cases. Some have seen major protests over multiple days, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

The protests have come just as communities across the nation loosen restrictions on businesses and public life that have helped slow the spread of the virus, deepening concern that the two factors taken together could create a national resurgence in cases.

“As a nation, we have to be concerned about a rebound,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser warned Sunday after days of protests rocked the nation’s capital. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo bemoaned the crowds, saying that hundreds could potentially have been infected, undoing months of social distancing.

A fresh outbreak in the places where protesters gathered could lead to reinstituting shutdowns.

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Trump says GOP is pulling convention from North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Tuesday night that he is seeking a new state to host this summer’s Republican National Convention after North Carolina refused to guarantee the event could be held in Charlotte without restrictions because of ongoing concerns over the coronavirus.

Trump announced the news via tweet, complaining the state’s governor, Democrat Roy Cooper, and other officials “refuse to guarantee that we can have use of the Spectrum Arena" and were not “allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised.”

“Because of @NC_Governor, we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention,” he wrote.

Trump and the Republican National Committee had been demanding that the convention be allowed to move forward with a full crowd and no face coverings — raising alarms in a state that is facing an upward trend in its virus cases, with about 29,900 cumulative cases and 900 deaths as of Tuesday. Around 700 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized. Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is located, accounted for 4,500 cases — more than double the next-highest county — and nearly 100 deaths.

“We have been committed to a safe RNC convention in North Carolina and it’s unfortunate they never agreed to scale down and make changes to keep people safe,” Cooper tweeted in response to the decision. “Protecting public health and safety during this pandemic is a priority.”

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Thousands remain protesting in NYC streets, defying curfew

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd remained on New York City streets Tuesday in defiance of an 8 p.m. curfew put in place by officials struggling to stanch destruction seen on other nights and growing complaints that the nation’s biggest city was reeling out of control.

Mayor Bill de Blasio doubled down on a citywide curfew, moving it up from 11 p.m. the night before, but rejected urging from President Donald Trump and an offer from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to bring in the National Guard.

“Everyone, time to go home so we can keep people safe,” he said on WINS-AM radio shortly after the curfew took effect.

Police initially let some groups of protesters continue marching. “I’m surprised," said Risha Munoz, on Manhattan's Upper West Side, where at points they were greeted with cheers and horns by onlookers in building windows. “I didn’t think they were gonna let us go on, but we just kept on moving and we’re not stopping."

“Something has to break, and it’s not going to be us,” said Evan Kutcher, one of hundreds of demonstrators who stood outside the Barclays Center chanting Floyd’s name Tuesday evening.

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The Latest: Biden sweeps all 7 presidential primaries

The Latest on Tuesday's primary elections (all times EDT):

10:45 p.m.

Joe Biden has scored a clean sweep of the seven states conducting Democratic presidential primaries on Tuesday, not at all a surprise given that the presumptive Democratic nominee has no active opposition.

Yet the delegate haul is important to Biden’s goal of gaining enough delegates to claim the Democratic nomination before the party’s summer convention. Tuesday’s results may leave Biden just short of the 1,991 delegates he needs, but primaries next week in Georgia and West Virginia could put him over the top.

Of Tuesday’s elections, Pennsylvania’s could add the most delegates to Biden’s count. He also won contests in Maryland, Indiana, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Montana and South Dakota.

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Curfews give sweeping powers to cops, but are often flouted

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Hundreds of cities have imposed curfews to keep the peace during a week of violent unrest across the U.S., employing a tactic that gives law enforcement sweeping arrest powers but is frequently flouted and criticized as being unconstitutional.

From New York City to Fargo, North Dakota, cities large and small have put curfews in place — in some cases for the first time in decades — sending out emergency notices on phones and highway signs urging people to stay off the streets.

But the deadlines aren't hard and fast — many of them have exceptions for people heading to and from work, reporters, public transportation and even people buying groceries. Many protesters and citizens have routinely disregarded the restrictions, and police have allowed peaceful demonstrations to continue after curfew while focusing their attention on violent unrest.

In New York City, an 11 p.m. curfew was originally put in place this week for what appeared to be the first time in nearly 80 years. Mayor Bill de Blasio rolled it back to 8 p.m., but thousands of people defied the curfew Tuesday night, continuing to march in parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan. After initially standing by and letting protesters continue, officers began ordering people to leave and some people were taken into custody. Demonstrators on a highway in lower Manhattan were herded off, and parts of the roadway behind them were were blocked off.

A curfew allows police the ability without any other reason to threaten to arrest or detain crowds of protesters that linger or groups that appear to be a danger to order. And curfews can be a deterrent to get law-abiding citizens off the street and allow police to focus their efforts on the unrest and not get bogged down in run-of-the-mill violations.

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False claims of antifa protesters plague small U.S. cities

CHICAGO (AP) — In the days since 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 speculation was being raised by conservative news outlets and pro-Trump social media accounts, as well as impostor Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Twitter and Facebook busted some of the instigators behind the unsubstantiated social media chatter. Twitter determined Monday that a tweet promising antifa would “move into residential areas” and “white” neighbourhoods was sent by the white supremacy group Identity Evropa. The tweet was shared hundreds of times and cited in online news articles before Twitter removed it Monday, a company spokesperson said.

Yet the tweet continued to circulate Tuesday on Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook, using information shared by Twitter, announced Tuesday night it also took down a handful of accounts on its platform that were created by white supremacy groups like Identity Evropa and American Guard, some of them posing as part of the antifa movement.

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Washington man has some surprise guests: about 60 protesters

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rahul Dubey had some unexpected guests Monday night — about 60 in all — as a tense nation’s capital continued to grapple with the fallout from the death of George Floyd while in police custody.

They were protesters out after Washington’s 7 p.m. curfew and about to be arrested when Dubey frantically waved them into his rowhouse. Police chased them as far as the entrance. Inside, pandemonium ensued as some of the screaming protesters hit by pepper spray sought relief for their eyes with milk and water. On the back patio, neighbours pitched in by handing milk over the fence.

“The whole time he didn’t think of himself,” said one of the protesters, a 22-year-old Virginia man named Meka who declined to give his last name. “He was just trying to keep everybody safe, make sure we knew our rights and to make sure our spirits were lifted throughout the night.”

Dubey said a police line was about two houses away when he flung his door open and he encouraged people to come inside.

“And now the pepper spray is coming, and they’re coughing and they can’t see and they’re tripping up on the stairs and their friends or whoever’s around them is helping them, pulling them inside the house. And this went on for 10 minutes," Dubey said, adding that “it was pure terror. It was 10 minutes of terror."

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Tropical Storm Cristobal forms, flood threat for Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Tropical Storm Cristobal formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, bringing some flooding to Mexico's southern Gulf coast and threatening more deadly inundations farther inland.

Cristobal was the earliest third named storm of an Atlantic hurricane season on record; in 2016, Tropical Storm Colin formed in the Gulf on June 5.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Cristobal was now expected to dip inland along the Mexican coast near the low-lying, flood-prone city of Ciudad del Carmen and meander there for a couple of days. That could pump a huge amount of water into coastal lagoons behind the city.

Police in Campeche state, where Ciudad del Carmen is located, said they have already closed several highways because of flooding.

By Friday, the storm is expected to make a northward turn and head towards the U.S. Gulf coast, where the Hurricane Center said “there is a risk of storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts this weekend along portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Texas to the Florida Panhandle.”

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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