WASHINGTON — Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a citywide curfew here Sunday night, as another wave of intense protests over the death of George Floyd enveloped the nation’s capital
The curfew will go in effect at 11 p.m. Sunday and will last through 6 a.m. Monday, she said.
Bowser had said as recently as Sunday afternoon that she was not planning on issuing a curfew. She also activated the Washington, D.C., National Guard to support the city’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Demonstrators furious over the death of Floyd were met by police firing off flash-bangs and tear gas Sunday to disperse crowds just feet from the White House for the third consecutive night.
Law enforcement blocked off streets in the areas surrounding the White House, as sign-waving demonstrators marched and chanted “no justice, no peace!”
A peaceful crowd gathered in front of the White House as the sun set.
“It's really overwhelming as a black American — especially a black female that has black brothers, a black dad. It’s encouraging to see so much support right now,” said Melita Bell, 30, who works for a nonprofit in the D.C. area.
Bell put off seeing the Floyd video because she knew it would be harrowing. And it was.
“It’s just hard to see something like that and picture — that could have been my dad, that could have been my brother, that could have been my uncle,” she said. “Silence is violence. If you're not showing up and making your voice heard you’re not supporting the black community.”
Another black woman, walking past Bell, waved a big green sign that read “Legalize Being BLACK.”
The crowd included good Samaritans — one woman was offering free hand sanitizer to protesters braving the coronavirus pandemic, while a man was picking up trash to keep the streets clean.
Moments before 8:30 p.m., the crowd began chanting “Black lives matter!” followed by “F--- Trump!” and “This is what democracy looks like!” and “No justice, no peace!”
The crowd skewed younger but was diverse — full of black and white protesters as well as some Latino and Asian Americans.
At the White House a day earlier, police used pepper spray, tear gas and what appeared to be rubber bullets on protesters, seeking to push them back. Protesters tossed objects like bottles toward the police. Some pulled bricks out of a sidewalk near the park and began throwing them toward police.
The Washington, D.C. protests came amid nationwide demonstrations over the killing of Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
Derek Chauvin, the since-fired officer who detained Floyd, a black man, was arrested and charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Chauvin was seen on videotape holding his knee against Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as he begged for mercy.
Three other officers were also involved in Floyd's detainment.