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New protests rage in US after latest police shooting of black man

Flames roar from a row of cars torched by protesters a few blocks from the County Court House during a demonstration against the shooting of African-American Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the US, on August 24, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Protests have continued to rage across the Unites States against police brutality, with major demos held in the cities of Portland and Kenosha, where National Guard troops were deployed to deal with angry protesters after the police shooting of yet another unarmed black man.

Police officers in riot gear fired tear gas to disperse angry protesters demanding justice in the city of Kenosha in Wisconsin late on Monday, after white policemen shot an African American man in the back in front of his three children.

Clashes with police in the city erupted for a second night after video circulated showing the 29-year-old Jacob Blake being shot and wounded in the back multiple times by the officers.

Ordering Guard troops deployed to Kenosha, Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers also denounced what he described as excessive force in the shooting of Blake and called for a special legislative session to consider police reforms.

Nearly one hour after the order on Monday afternoon, Kenosha’s mayor faced dozens of fuming, jeering protesters demanding the arrest of the officers involved in Blake’s shooting. Some attempted to force their way into the municipal public-safety building adjacent to the courthouse when the mayor, John Antaramian, fled from the heckling crowd.

Shortly after a curfew went into effect in Kenosha County on Monday night, local police dressed in crowd control gear began dispersing protesters defying the dusk-to-dawn curfew from outside a county courthouse with volleys of tear gas and pepper balls.

A short time later, several truckloads of National Guard troops were seen rolling into the center of Kenosha, with the local media reporting that exit ramps leading into the city had been closed to traffic.

This is while the local chapter of the rights group American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wisconsin censured the National Guard deployment as an unnecessary and “militarized” response to legitimate protests that “only serves to exacerbate tensions.”

Evers said he ordered the deployment of military troops to Kenosha at the request of local officials to help maintain order after activists declared they were organizing more protest rallies for Monday night.

He admitted that police officers had shown a pattern of “excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.”

The latest police shooting took place three months after the brutal murder of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 by a white police officer, triggering nationwide protests against racism and police brutality prevalent within the US.

Fresh protest rallies were also held in Minnesota on Monday night in response to the shooting of Blake, with some protester seen burning the American flag.

Hundreds of demonstrators also marched to protest Blake’s shooting in New York City on Monday.

Portland police declare ‘riot’ as protesters light fire at offices

The development came as police in the northwestern US city of Portland declared a “riot” and ordered protesters to disperse late on Monday after police association offices in the city were set ablaze.

“Failure to leave now will subject you to arrest and/or the use of crowd control munitions including but not limited to tear gas and impact weapons,” the police said in a Twitter post. 

Portland police used tear gas on protesters and made 23 arrests as they declared a demonstration to be a “riot” late on Sunday, claiming that a group of more than 200 demonstrators lit fires and attacked officers with lasers, rocks, and bottles.

‘These shots pierce the soul of our nation’

Meanwhile, US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also reacted to the latest police shooting in Wisconsin and called for the officers involved to be held accountable.

“The nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force,” Biden said in a statement. “These shots pierce the soul of our nation.”

US President Donald Trump’s administration deployed federal police and military forces to Portland in July to crack down on the protesters.

On Friday, he described the nationwide protests against police brutality as “crazy” and claimed that cities run by Democrats had descended into chaos.

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