June 7 George Floyd protest news

By Jessie Yeung, Jenni Marsh, Rob Picheta, Peter Wilkinson, Fernando Alfonso III, Amir Vera and Steve George, CNN

Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT) June 8, 2020
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9:47 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Colin Powell says Trump has not been "an effective president" and should not be reelected


Colin Powell, former US secretary of state, said he does not believe President Donald Trump should be reelected because "he lies all the time."

Powell's comments were made after protesters lined the streets near the White House Saturday to protest against Trump's response to the death of George Floyd and other black Americans.

"I think he has been not an effective president. He lies all the time. He began lying the day of the inauguration when we got into an argument about the size of the crowd that was there. People are writing books about his favorite thing of lying. And I don't think that's in our interest," Powell said.


9:21 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Colin Powell discusses how he responded to the Rodney King riots


Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed the role he played in addressing the 1992 Rodney King riots in California.

The riots were triggered after an acquittal of four L.A. police officers in the brutal beating of suspect Rodney King a year earlier. The turbulence that led to more than 50 deaths and $1 billion in property damage all began with a traffic violation.

Powell revisited the conversation he had with President George H.W. Bush and the actions taken to help calm the country at the time. 

"[W]e had to bring law and order back into the streets, and we work with the state of California where it happened in Los Angeles, the riots, and President called me and said, 'we may have to do something,' I said, Mr. President, 'go to the governor, governor has a National Guard, and the National Guard can't do it, then you come back to me with a decision and we will send in federal troops.' And we did," Powell told CNN Sunday morning. "And we brought things under control rather quickly. The President always followed the law, followed the Constitution, worked with the community, and we brought stability finally. It was a bad scene, but we got over it rather quickly."
9:41 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Colin Powell says the President has "drifted away" from the Constitution


Colin Powell, former US secretary of state, rebuked President Trump for his actions during a state of growing unrest in the country following the death of George Floyd.

"We have a Constitution. We have to follow that Constitution. And the president's drifted away from it. I'm so proud of what these generals and admirals have done and others have done," Powell told CNN this morning on "State of the Union."

Some context: Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday castigated Trump as "the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people" in a forceful rebuke of his former boss as nationwide protests have intensified over the death of Floyd.

"Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us," Mattis said in a statement obtained by CNN.


8:56 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

SOON: Colin Powell live on CNN

Colin Powell, former US secretary of state, will join CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" at 9 a.m. ET to discuss the growing unrest around the US.

Watch live here.

8:45 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Thousands fill Rome's Piazza del Popolo in solidarity with Black Lives Matter movement

From CNN’s Ben Wedeman and Alessandro Gentile in Rome

Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Image
Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Image

Thousands of protesters gathered at Piazza del Popolo – one of the main squares in the Italian capital – to peacefully demonstrate in solidarity with George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The protest comes amid a series of demonstrations across Europe following the killing of Floyd by police officers in the United States.

Demonstrators in Rome joined together on Sunday, chanting “black lives matter” and to take a knee for eight minutes of silence – a symbolic tribute to Floyd, who died after police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

During the demonstration, the protesters were addressed by representatives of Italy’s migrant community and American expatriates; the names of all those killed in the US as a result of police brutality were listed and commemorated by the crowd.

While the large gathering has made it difficult for protesters to adhere to the government’s social distancing guidelines, those demonstrating in the piazza were seen to be attempting to maintain a 1-meter distance between themselves, with many wearing masks and face coverings to limit the spread of coronavirus.

8:33 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

British minister warns London Black Lives Matter protests could risk further spread of coronavirus

From CNN’s Zahid Mahmood in London

A man raises his hands as police scuffle with demonstrators in London on June 6.
A man raises his hands as police scuffle with demonstrators in London on June 6. Alberto Pezzali/AP

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that the Black Lives Matter protests taking place in the capital are “undoubtedly a risk” to the British public, cautioning on Sunday that large gatherings could lead to the further spread of coronavirus.

“It is undoubtedly a risk. I support very strongly the argument that is made to people who are protesting for equality and against discrimination,” Hancock told Sky News on Sunday.

“The virus itself does not discriminate and gathering in large groups is temporarily against the rules precisely because it increases the risk of the spread of this virus,” he added. 

Thousands have been marching in London in recent days, defying calls from the UK government to stay at home due to the pandemic.

During his interview with Sky’s Sophy Ridge, Hancock affirmed that the UK is beginning to gain control over the health crisis, and urged protesters not to participate in spreading the virus further. 

“I would urge people to make their argument, and I will support you in making that argument, but please don’t spread this virus which has already done so much damage, and which we’re starting to get under control,” Hancock said. 

The anti-racism protests are due to continue Sunday afternoon outside the US Embassy in London.

Some context: Despite the unease about protests spreading coronavirus, more than 1,000 health professionals in the US have signed a letter expressing their concern that the protests could be shut down under the guise of coronavirus protections. And they offer tips on how safely to keep protests in place.

“White supremacy is a lethal public health issue that predates and contributes to COVID-19,” they write.

7:07 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

London's Mayor expresses solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters ahead of Sunday demonstration

From CNN’s Max Foster in London

Protesters outside Downing Street on Saturday.
Protesters outside Downing Street on Saturday.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has expressed his solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests taking place in the capital, asserting that the killing of George Floyd by police officers in the United States must lead to “lasting change” across the globe.   

“Londoners of all ages, races and backgrounds joined millions of people around the world yesterday to come together peacefully to say that Black Lives Matter. I stand with you and share your anger and pain,” Khan said Sunday in a statement. 

“George Floyd’s brutal killing must lead to immediate and lasting change in countries, cities, police services and institutions everywhere. We must root out racism wherever it is found,” he added. 

Addressing the protests which took place in capital on Saturday, the London Mayor cautioned that further protests must remain peaceful and acts of violence will not be tolerated.

“The vast majority of protesters in London were peaceful. But this vital cause was badly let down by a tiny minority who turned violent and threw glass bottles and lit flares, endangering other protesters and injuring police officers,” Khan said. 

“This is simply not acceptable, will not be tolerated and will not win the lasting and necessary change we desperately need to see,” he added. 

Ahead of a planned demonstration in London on Sunday, Sadiq Khan reiterated that the coronavirus pandemic still poses a significant threat to the United Kingdom and called for protesters to adhere to the government’s social distancing guidance.

“Please also remember that Covid-19 is still a very real threat to our communities. I urge people to consider ways of making your voice heard that doesn’t put yourself and others at risk of catching coronavirus,” the London Mayor said. 

“If you are planning to protest today you must do so safely, peacefully and within the law. Use hand sanitiser, wear a face covering and keep 2m apart from others,” he added.

6:14 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Robin DiAngelo: How "white fragility" supports racism and how whites can stop it

From CNN's Sandee LaMotte

If you're a white person in America, social justice educator Robin DiAngelo has a message for you: You're a racist, pure and simple, and without a lifetime of conscious effort you always will be.

You just can't help it, you see, because you've been swaddled in the cocoon of white privilege since you came sputtering out of your mother's womb, protesting the indignity of it all.

You may be indignantly sputtering right now at this insult to your humanity -- for how can you be a racist? You have black colleagues you consider friends; you don't see skin color; you never owned slaves; you marched in the 60s; you even protest today against the uniformed "bad apples" that use the power of their authority to smother minority lives and minority rights.

CNN sat down with DiAngelo to ask her thoughts on the conversations around today's protests, how they fit into the history of the civil rights movement, and what white people need to do now. The conversation has been edited for flow and clarity.

Q: Is this a "Me Too" moment for racial equality or is the conversation going to fizzle and fade as it's done in the past?

DiAngelo: There are a few things that I think are different about this moment. First, it's being sustained. It's not one march, one protest. They are ongoing and spreading around the world.

There is discourse in the mainstream media that I didn't think I'd ever hear in my life. Those of us who have been beating this drum for years are finally hearing phrases like "systemic racism" used in the mainstream media.

The number one and two books being sold in the world right now are both on racism, one written by me, a white person, and one written by Ibram X. Kendi, a black person. You can google "What can white people do right now?" and you wouldn't be able to keep up with all of the excellent lists of resources and guidance.

We're hearing a discussion of reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans on the Democratic debate stage. For the first time ever in history, I think, a recent poll showed that more white Americans believe that there are advantages to being white than don't believe that.

These are huge breakthroughs. But it needs to be sustained, and I'm a little worried about what happens when the cameras go away. This is where I remember Malcolm Gladwell's tipping point theory: You only need 30%. And when I feel discouraged, I remember that because I think "We got 30%. Let's keep it going."

Read more from CNN's Q&A with Robin DiAngelo here.

5:27 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Police horse causes havoc after bolting at London rally, after thousands turn up to protest outside Parliament

From CNN's Rob Picheta in London

A police officer lies on the ground after her horse bolted.
A police officer lies on the ground after her horse bolted. Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in London on Saturday, in a largely peaceful protest against the death of George Floyd and systemic racism in the United States and around the world.

Activists braved bad weather to fill Parliament Square in the British capital during the day, but more heated scenes unfolded in the evening when a small number of protesters clashed with police outside Downing Street, the official residence of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In one incident, video posted online showed a police horse suddenly bolting, causing its officer to crash into a street light and fall to the ground. The loose horse then caused panic as it ran through groups of protesters, before making its way back to police stables. It is not clear what caused the horse to flee.

The officer is receiving hospital treatment but her injuries are not life-threatening, London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, sizable crowds defied calls from the government and police that people should stay home to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Crowds in London during the day.
Crowds in London during the day. Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

They joined together to chant Floyd's name and "Black Lives Matter," at one point all taking a knee in unison outside Parliament.

Officers were not wearing riot gear during the daytime rally, but as the protests wound down in the evening scenes turned more tense and officers with protective equipment were deployed.

Police said a total of 14 arrests were made and 10 officers received injuries, but noted that the majority of protesters had acted peacefully.

"We understand peoples' passion to come and let their voice be heard, they protested largely without incident," Superintendent Jo Edwards, the spokesperson for policing the demonstration, said in a statement.

"Our officers have been professional and very restrained but there was a smaller group intent on violence towards police officers." An investigation is being carried out regarding the horse incident, the statement added.

Read more about the rally in London here.