A curfew has been imposed in New York City in an effort to curb violent protests over the death of African-American man George Floyd, according to a joint statement by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The curfew began at 11 p.m. Monday, and will continue till 5 a.m. Tuesday, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.
“While we encourage people to protest peacefully and make their voices heard, the safety of the general public is paramount and cannot be compromised,” Cuomo said in the statement.
Cuomo and de Blasio also announced that the New York Police Department (NYPD) will double its police presence in all the city’s five boroughs to help prevent violence and property damage during demonstrations.
They also urged protesters to cover their faces as the city remains the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I support and protect peaceful protest in this city. The demonstrations we’ve seen have been generally peaceful. We can’t let violence undermine the message of this moment,” said de Blasio in the statement.
Some 40 cities across the US have imposed curfews to curb acts of violence in extensive demonstrations against police brutality and racism.
Earlier on Monday, de Blasio said that he was planning to talk with other officials on a potential curfew in the nation’s largest city.
Over the past four days, some 1,000 protesters were arrested in New York City for looting, attacking police or vandalism, among other acts.
More than 40 police officers have been injured since May 28, none with serious injuries, according to NYPD officials.
Meanwhile, the NYPD is also under criticism due to some seemingly excessive moves in several encounters with the protesters, such as accelerating their cars while being surrounded by crowds of people.
The Mayor said in the statement that he had talked to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea about the incidents in recent days “where officers didn’t uphold the values of this city or the NYPD,” adding that Shea would elaborate on how officers will be held accountable later.
Nationwide protests, some of which turned violent, have erupted since May 25, when Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old man, died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, held him down with a knee on his neck though he repeatedly pleaded, “I can’t breathe”, and “please, I can’t breathe”.
All four police officers involved in the incident that took place in Minneapolis city have been fired, and Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.