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Cities brace for another night of possible unrest

Cities across the nation are bracing for more violence following seven days of protests that have led to chaotic scenes of police and protesters clashing as well as looting and vandalism unfolding throughout the night.

Dozens of cities remain under curfew as demonstrators take to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in the custody of four white officers in what has become one of the most powerful nationwide demonstrations against police brutality in decades.  

Amid the unrest, President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE has vowed to send the military into cities that cannot seize control of their cities, sparking fears that he is escalating the violence rather than seeking to extinguish fears and fires.

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Democratic leaders have sparred as well, criticizing their own as city leaders fail to get a hold on the violence and destruction.

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoBipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package Hundreds protest over NY bar owners arrested for coronavirus violations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates MORE (D) publicly criticized New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioUS records over 14 million coronavirus cases New York City positivity rate above 5 percent, highest level since May NYC mayoral contender challenges New York Times for defining candidacy by marijuana use MORE and the New York Police Department on Tuesday after Macy’s Department Store and other shops were looted Monday night. 

“The NYPD and the mayor did not do their job last night, I believe that,” Cuomo said, calling the mayor’s handling of the matter a “disgrace.”

Democrats on Tuesday condemned the police's use of force against peaceful protesters in D.C., while some Republicans also expressed their discomfort. 

The street was cleared so that Trump and other officials could hold a photo-op outside St. John's Church, where a fire had been set by vandals a night earlier.

“To me at a time like this, the president ought to be trying to calm the nation, pledge to right historic wrongs and be a steady influence. I don’t think he was last night,” Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress inches closer to virus relief deal Lawmakers pressure leaders to reach COVID-19 relief deal Biden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him MORE (R-Maine) told reporters Tuesday.

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“It was painful to watch peaceful protesters be subjected to tear gas in order for the president to go across the street to a church that I believe he’s attended only once,” she said.

Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him McConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism MORE (R-Neb.) in a statement Tuesday said: “There is a fundamental — a Constitutional — right to protest, and I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop.”

Washington, D.C., is just one of the cities that has been convulsed with protests over the past week that at times devolved into looting and violence, all unfolding as the nation is still grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Stores in multiple cities near the areas of protest have boarded up their doors and windows in an effort to protect their business, though sometimes the barriers have not deterred looters. 

Violence has also broken out between police and some protesters, though the majority of demonstrators have been peaceful.

One viral video captured a shocking moment in which a police officer in New York City tried to stop looters and was rammed by their vehicle as they attempted to get away.

Four St. Louis police officers were hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening after a shooting erupted Monday evening, the police chief said at an early morning press conference. Police allege the suspect, who has yet to be apprehended or identified, opened fire at a line of officers.

Another police officer in Las Vegas is on life support after being shot in the head.

Videos have also shown peaceful protesters facing attacks from police.

A line of officers in Kansas City on Monday night were captured converging on a black demonstrator who was criticizing them for “prematurely using excessive force.” 

While the protester was several feet away, footage shows the police officers moving in to grab him. And when an acquaintance tried to step in, they were both sprayed at close range with pepper spray. The demonstrator was pulled away, wrestled to the ground and put in restraints.

The long nights have left many wondering whether protests will sustain their momentum for another week or if they will flare out.

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Despite the ugliness, there have also been moments of unity that emerged as police joined with protesters in some cities in solidarity.

A line of police officers in Atlanta knelt in front of demonstrators in Centennial Olympic Park on Monday.

Another photo captured Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen linking arms with protesters on Monday to walk down the street.

Confrontations between protesters also arose as some sought to stop looters or those seeking to inflict violence on the police, saying that detracted from their purpose.

Each day marks a new test of how either side will respond amid tense standoffs. 

Demonstrators on Tuesday appeared eager to press forward into another week of demonstrations, with people in New York taking to the streets by mid-afternoon. Protesters in D.C. also gathered by the White House in the afternoon, this time congregating along a newly erected fence on the outskirts of Lafayette Square.

And while the protests during the day appeared peaceful, the question of whether they remain peaceful or turn violent has largely been revealed around nightfall.