Residents of Longfellow District protesting the death of African-American George Floyd crushed and burned down a major shopping mall.
Minneapolis has been hit by a new wave of violence. On Thursday, the day after the riots over the death of an African-American man in police custody, one of the city’s neighborhoods turned into smoky ruins – with buildings burned down, shops looted, and angry graffiti demanding justice.
The unrest spread to several neighborhoods in the Longfellow area, and several other outbreaks of violence occurred in other parts of Minneapolis. After two nights of violent protests following the death of African-American George Floyd, the Mayor of Minneapolis asked the Governor to bring the National Guard forces into the city. Another protest will take place Thursday night in the historic center of Minneapolis.
Some of the city’s shops are planning to close early for fear of new unrest. Authorities have stopped the high-speed tram system and plan to stop all bus services, explaining it as “a concern for the safety of passengers and employees” of transportation companies.
Fears of new unrest increased after Wednesday to Thursday night, when violence erupted in the Longfellow area. The rioters broke all the windows at the mall across the street from the police station where Floyd was detained. Among those affected were a major supermarket, Target, and the Planet Fitness chain gym. There was huge red graffiti on the wall of the supermarket that said: “Why us?”. Wendy’s across the street fast food restaurant was charred almost beyond recognition.
The rioters, however, find meaning in their actions.
The protesters destroyed commercial establishments “because the system is broken,” a young man who identified himself as Cash told the Associated Press. He said he was outside at the time of the riots. Kash disagreed that the destruction of the supermarket had harmed residents of an area predominantly populated by African Americans.
The protests, which began on Wednesday evening and continued until Thursday morning, were more violent than on Tuesday.
Mayor Jacob Frey called on the people of Longfellow to calm down. “Please, Minneapolis, we can’t let this tragedy cause more tragedies,” he wrote on his Twitter.
Protests have also begun in other cities in the country. In California, hundreds of people outraged by Floyd’s death blocked the highway in Los Angeles and smashed the car windows of the California Traffic Police. Police in Memphis blocked the main highway after a group of protesters gathered outside the police station. The situation then escalated and the police asked for help from the special forces.
During the riots in Minneapolis on Wednesday night, a man was found deadly wounded near a pawn shop. According to the city authorities, the deceased may have been killed by the owner of a loan facility. The city’s fire department reported 30 intentional arson attacks, resulting in 16 fires. Several fire trucks were hit by rocks and other projectiles. No one was injured in the fires.
Floyd, 46, died in custody on Monday – police arrested him near a grocery store after receiving reports that an African American had paid a counterfeit banknote to a seller. On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI said they were conducting a “serious criminal investigation” into Floyd’s death.
The African-American died after one of the policemen put his neck down with his knee. The scene of the arrest was filmed by a passerby. The video he posted on social networks soon became widespread throughout the country and led to the start of mass protests.