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Clashes at US protest over police shooting of black man

  • Robert Chiarito

    Agence France-Presse

Kenosha, United States   /   Tue, August 25, 2020   /   01:00 pm
Clashes at US protest over police shooting of black man A cloud of smoke rises between a line police officers during a protest outside the Kenosha County Courthouse after a Black man, identified as Jacob Blake, was shot several times by police last night in Kenosha, Wisconsin, US Monday. (Reuters/Stephen Maturen)

Police fired tear gas on Monday when a protest demanding racial justice in the city of Kenosha in Wisconsin turned violent, as rage builds once more in the US at the shooting of a black man by a white officer.

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

Shortly after a curfew imposed on Kenosha County began at 8:00 pm (0100 GMT Tuesday), local police dressed in crowd control gear began pushing protesters back from outside a county courthouse using tear gas, an AFP reporter said.

They fired after the demonstrators began throwing water bottles at the Kenosha County Sheriff's officers. Some protesters then launched fireworks and more bottles at officers.

Later, some protesters smashed streetlights and set fire to a nearby building.

The clashes came hours after some two dozen police faced off against hundreds of demonstrators chanting "No justice, no peace" and "Say his name - Jacob Blake."

Blake, 29, was airlifted to hospital in Milwaukee in serious condition, but local media reported Monday afternoon that his family said he was out of surgery and improving. 

Kenosha County, on the shores of Lake Michigan, has declared a curfew from 8:00 pm until 7:00 am Tuesday, after protesters set alight several city vehicles and damaged the county courthouse late Sunday.

"The public needs to be off the streets for their safety," the county sheriff said in a statement.

Wisconsin governor Tony Evers said he was sending 125 members of the national guard to the city to maintain order Monday night.

He urged protesters to be peaceful, adding: "We must see the trauma, fear and exhaustion of being black in our state and our country."

One couple, who only gave their names as Michelle and Kalvin, had brought their seven-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son with them.

"I want my kids to see how change happens and am here so nothing like this ever happens to them," Michelle said.

Another resident, 37-year-old Sherese Lott, called for police to be held accountable. 

"If I killed someone I'd be convicted and regarded as a murderer. I think it should be the same for the police," she said.

The footage and the lack of any immediate explanation provoked painful memories of the police killing of African American George Floyd three months ago in Minneapolis, which sparked massive nationwide protests.