George Floyd: New York City to impose six-hour curfew following violent demonstrations

1 June 2020, 23:18

New York City will impose a curfew between 11pm and 5am Eastern Time
New York City will impose a curfew between 11pm and 5am Eastern Time. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

New York City is set to impose an 11pm to 5am (ET) curfew on Monday in an attempt to prevent another night of violent demonstrations over George Floyd's death.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and State Governor Andrew Cuomo agreed to join other cities across the US in implementing restrictions following days of destructive clashes between protesters and police.

The move will limit the movement of 8.6 million New Yorkers throughout the night for six hours following months of shutdown measures already in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Demonstrators have clashed with police forces across the country for the past week following the death of African-American George Floyd, who passed away after a white police officer - Derek Chauvin - knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

Mr de Blasio and Mr Cuomo said the violent outbreaks in New York - which left stores ransacked, police vehicles burned and further destruction in spots around the city - left them no choice but to introduce a curfew.

The pair have also stressed they support the peaceful protesters who have demonstrated against police brutality and racial injustice.

Additional officers will be deployed to areas where violence and property damage occurred during last night's protests.

"We support and protect peaceful protest in this city. The demonstrations we've seen have been generally peaceful and their message must be heard," Mr de Blasio said in a written statement.

"We've seen community leaders working together with police to keep the peace.

"We can’t let violence undermine the message of this moment. The NYPD will increase its presence where we saw violence and property damage last night — specifically in Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn.

"The Police Commissioner and I have spoken at length about the incidents we've all seen in recent days where officers didn't uphold the values of this city or the NYPD.

"We agree on the need for swift action. He will speak later today on how officers will be held accountable."

Read more: President Trump tells governors to 'dominate' protesters and 'put them in jail for 10 years'

The two Democrats also reminded protesters to uphold health precautions, such as wearing face coverings, when demonstrating due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Mr Cuomo said: "I stand behind the protesters and their message, but unfortunately there are people who are looking to distract and discredit this moment.

"The violence and the looting has been bad for the city, the state and this entire national movement, undermining and distracting from this righteous cause.

"While we encourage people to protest peacefully and make their voices heard, the safety of the general public is paramount and cannot be compromised."

The announcement came as new protests got underway.

Read more: Shop owner who called police on George Floyd says he won't again until they 'stop killing innocent people'

Overnight, people had smashed windows and plundered shops in parts of Manhattan. Hundreds were arrested, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said on Monday.

A 21-year-old man was shot in the chic SoHo neighbourhood around 12:30 am and was taken to a hospital, police said. However, his injuries were not life-threatening.

Groups of people poured down the sidewalks in Soho and other neighbourhoods including Union Square, breaking into Rolex, Kate Spade and Prada boutiques and electronics stores that have been shuttered for over two months because of the coronavirus.

“People are doing this so next time, before they think about trying to kill another black person, they’re going to be like, ’Damn, we don’t want them out here doing this ... again',” New York City resident Sean Jones said as he watched the destruction.