NEW YORK – An 8 p.m. curfew didn’t stop thousands of defiant demonstrators from marching through the streets of New York City throughout the night Tuesday, though some of the rampant destruction seen over the past few nights was quelled.
The citywide curfew, which is in place through Sunday, was instated to prevent the widespread damage and destruction that has filled the city’s streets over the last two nights after largely peaceful dayside protests.
Mayor Bill de Blasio doubled down on the citywide curfew, but rejected urging from President Donald Trump and an offer from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to bring in the National Guard.
“Everyone, time to go home so we can keep people safe,” he said on WINS-AM radio shortly after the curfew took effect.
But demonstrators continued winding through the streets, as part of ongoing nationwide protests following the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died last week after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on Floyd’s neck even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.
“I’m surprised,” said Risha Munoz, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where at points they were greeted with cheers and horns by onlookers in building windows. “I didn’t think they were gonna let us go on, but we just kept on moving and we’re not stopping.”
“Something has to break, and it’s not going to be us,” said Evan Kutcher, one of hundreds of demonstrators who stood outside the Barclays Center chanting Floyd’s name Tuesday evening.
Police began making arrests around 9 p.m. and shut down parts of the West Side Highway in lower Manhattan, blocking it off to huge crowds of protesters. The police department announced it would not allow vehicle traffic south of 96th Street in Manhattan after curfew, though residents, essential workers, buses and truck deliveries were exempt.