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Clashes, fires near White House as protests escalate

Clashes, fires near White House as protests escalate
© Twitter: Adam Parkhomenko

Protests near the White House escalated on Sunday amid the continued fallout from the killing of George Floyd, with images on social media showing multiple fires and scenes of rowdy crowds even as a citywide curfew had been imposed.

Sunday night saw the third straight day of protests in the nation's capital following the release of a video last week showing a white police officer in Minneapolis kneeling on the neck of the 46-year-old Floyd, an unarmed black man. Floyd died in police custody shortly after the video was taken.

His death has sparked increasingly violent protests across the country, from Los Angeles to New York, and has led Minnesota officials to charge the police officer in the video, Derek Chauvin, with third-degree murder and with manslaughter.

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Protests began peacefully in the nation's capital on Sunday afternoon, but by the late evening had started to turn more chaotic, even after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced a citywide curfew from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. Monday morning.

Journalists and others on Twitter shared footage of the demonstrations from Lafayette Park, near the White House, showing a blazing bonfire and buildings in the area, including the the AFL-CIO headquarters, covered in graffiti. CNN correspondent Kate Bennett reported that the lobby of the AFL-CIO building had been set on fire. 

Adam Parkhomenko shared footage of one of the fires outside the White House, saying the scene resembled a "war zone."

Yahoo News reporter Hunter Walker reported that police advanced on protesters in Lafayette Park, firing tear gas at them and causing many of them to disperse.

Other reporters, including the Washington Post's Michelle Boorstein, reported that St. John's Church in Lafayette Square had been set on fire, but that the blaze had been extinguished. It was not immediately clear how much damage had been done to the church.

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Scenes broadcast on cable news captured the frantic nature of Sunday night's protests. At one point, MSNBC's Garrett Haake could be heard cursing after being hit with what he said was a projectile of some sort, such as a rubber bullet. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal MORE has spent most of Sunday tweeting, ramping up calls for "law and order" and urging city and state officials to "get tough" on protesters.

The president earlier in the weekend criticized Bowser following the protests near his residence, accusing her of not allowing D.C. police to work with the Secret Service in handling the demonstrations. Bowser shot back at Trump, calling him a "scared man."