Graffiti Flourishes Across Pandemic-Era New York

In this file photo taken on February 22, 2006, the 7 Train passes by the 5 Pointz Building in Long Island City, Queens, New York. PHOTO: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

 

Graffiti is part of New York’s history for over 50 years — is flourishing during the coronavirus pandemic, a sign of decadence for some, but vitality for others.

As dusk becomes nightfall, graffiti artist Saynosleep takes a quick look around and then gets to work on a luxury store closed since it was looted in June during protests over George Floyd’s death.

“If you’re not painting right now, I don’t know what you’re doing,” says the 40-year-old, adding an expletive. “There has never been a time like this.”

READ ALSO: Wizkid, Tems Make Barrack Obama’s List Of Favourite Music Of 2020

The facades of hundreds of store that have shut because of the pandemic are “an invitation” to artists, says Marie Flageul, curator at New York’s Museum of Street Art (MoSA).

Graffiti artist “Saynosleep” paints a door in New York City on December 15, 2020. They have been part of the city’s history for more than 50 years, but with the pandemic, graffiti is flourishing as never before in New York, a sign of decadence for some, or vitality for others. PHOTO: Thomas URBAIN / AFP

 

Walls, bridges, sidewalks, and subway cars — 34 of which have been painted since the beginning of the month — are canvases.

“It’s a big surge, a renaissance of graffiti,” enthuses Saynosleep, who uses a different pseudonym for his legal artwork.

Graffiti was first accepted by the art world in the 1980s when it moved into galleries.

Expressive street art then captured the imagination of the general public in the 2000s when it went from illegal to legal spaces.

But since March, it is the raw, illegal type of graffiti that has spread in a disorderly fashion.

“Everybody wants to express themselves,” says Saynosleep, who says he has seen a woman in her 60s drawing graffiti. “People are bored. They need something to do.”

The growth of the Black Lives Matter movement following Floyd’s killing at the hands of a Minnesota police officer in May has accelerated the trend, with protesters scribbling racial justice slogans and demands on buildings.

– ‘Vandalism’ –

In a year when socialising has virtually stopped and streets no longer throng with activity, graffiti is artists’ way of saying, “‘It feels like New York is dead and you don’t see us but we are still here,'” says Flageul.

The creative impulses are not to everyone’s taste, however. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said the graffiti was “another sign of decay,” along with an increase in murders and shootings in New York City.

He indirectly blamed Mayor Bill de Blasio for supposedly taking a lax attitude towards it.

Critics were also angry that the city government, over budgetary constraints, axed its graffiti removal program that had cleaned almost 15,000 sites in 2019.

“I think it’s horrible,” said Darcy Weber, who has recently settled in New York. “Some say it’s art, but did they get permission for that? No, so it’s vandalism.”

For some, graffiti reminds them of the dark days of the 1970s and ’80s when New York was broke and crime was rife.

“From the beginning of the shutdown, I’ve been seen by police and I kept going, multiple times,” without being arrested Saynosleep says.

A spokesperson for the New York Police Department told AFP the force is “fully aware of the importance of addressing graffiti-related crime,” and said such incidents were down 17 percent from last year.

Flageul, who is also a spokesperson for the 5Pointz graffiti collective, says it’s “a bit of a cliche” to say that more graffiti means New York is regressing.

Brooklyn President Eric Adams, who wants to become New York’s mayor next year, says tags spray painted onto public and private property “is quickly destroying our borough’s landscape.”

“It costs home and business owners hundreds of thousands of dollars and tremendous efforts to erase it,” he added, drawing a distinction between “vandalism” and “amazing street murals.”

Ken Lovett, an advisor to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman, noted that cleaning graffiti from trains is draining resources when the MTA is facing “the worst financial crisis” in its history.

New Jersey resident Emile Fu says he’s not too bothered. “There’s other things to be concerned about,” she told AFP.

Bryce Graham, who lives in the Chelsea neighborhood, said the graffiti would shock him in somewhere like Ottawa “where everything is super clean.”

“But here in New York, it’s a hell of a mix of what is clean and what is dirty,” he said.

AFP

New York Nurse Receives First COVID-19 Vaccine In US

FILES) In this file photo taken on December 8, 2020 a member of staff draws the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine out of a phial at the Southmead Hospital, Briston.  Graeme Robertson / AFP / POOL.

 

The United States kicked off a mass vaccination drive Monday hoping to turn the tide on the world’s biggest coronavirus outbreak, as the country’s death toll neared a staggering 300,000.

A nurse in New York became the first person in the US to be vaccinated when she received the Pfizer-BioNTech shot live on television.

“I feel great. I feel relieved,” said Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, imploring all Americans to “to do our part” by getting vaccinated.

“I hope this marks the beginning of the end of the very painful time in our history,” she added.

The landmark moment comes at one of the darkest phases of the pandemic, with infections in the United States and many other countries soaring, and health experts still struggling against vaccine skepticism, lockdown fatigue and uneven adherence to safety rules.

The US has the world’s highest death toll of more than 299,000, and the largest number of reported cases, at 16.2 million — including more than 1.5 million new infection in just the past week.

“First Vaccine Administered. Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!” tweeted President Donald Trump.

Delivery trucks with special refrigeration equipment were rolling out across America, as part of a public-private plan to ship millions of doses of the newly approved Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine to vulnerable Americans.

Courier services FedEx and UPS have deployed fleets of trucks and planes to carry their precious cargo — sometimes under armed guard — to all 50 states, where health care workers and nursing-home residents will be first in line.

An initial 2.9 million doses are set to be delivered by Wednesday, with officials saying 20 million Americans could receive the two-shot regimen by year end, and 100 million by March.

UPS and FedEx were to ship glass vials of the vaccine to 636 sites around the country by Wednesday.

Doses are being shipped in boxes containing dry ice that can keep supplies at -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit), the frigid temperature needed to preserve the drug.

– German lockdown –

Trials have shown the vaccine to be 95 percent effective, and Americans were being told it was safe unless they have an allergy to any of the drug’s components.

Experts face a battle to convince enough Americas to take the vaccine to make it effective though, in a country where the anti-vaccine movement is strong.

“My biggest concern is the level of hesitancy in the country. I really hope we are going to be able to change that,” Moncef Slaoui, head of the government’s vaccine rollout program Operation Warp Speed, told CBS.

Worldwide, there have been at least 1.6 million deaths since the outbreak emerged in China last December, and 71.6 million cases overall.

Canada also began distributing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday after the first shipment of doses arrived in the country on Sunday night.

The start of the campaigns in North America this week come as Germany prepares to enter a partial lockdown from Wednesday, with non-essential shops and schools to close in a bid to halt an “exponential growth” in infections.

Elsewhere, Italy has overtaken Britain as the European nation with the highest death toll at 64,520.

Even as US officials welcomed the unprecedented vaccine effort, they cautioned people not to grow lax in observing precautions.

“It’s going to take months before the vaccine hits critical mass. So, this is the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a long tunnel,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York state, where 35,000 people have succumbed to Covid-19.

New York Shuts Early To Curb Surging COVID-19 Cases

 


Michael M. Santiago / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

 

Bars and restaurants in New York will shut early on Friday as part of fresh measures designed to slow surging new coronavirus infections in the United States as hospitals in many European countries fill up with new patients. 

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that all establishments licensed to sell alcohol, including bars and restaurants, should close at 10 pm.

The United States and parts of Europe are recording higher infection and hospitalisation numbers than they had during the first wave in March and April.

With daily cases nation-wide averaging more than 125,000 in the US, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said he may issue stay-at-home orders for Chicago and the rest of the state if new infections continue their current trend.

“With every fibre of my being I do not want us to get there,” said Pritzker. “But right now that seems like where we are heading.”

Chicago has issued a non-mandatory stay-at-home advisory because its hospitals serving the poorest communities are filling to breaking point.

Hospitals are also treating more patients in France than they did in April, while Serbia’s capital Belgrade has started shipping its Covid-19 cases to other cities because its beds are all full.

“We are now facing the most difficult moment of the pandemic,” neighbouring Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said.

– ‘Two months’ –

The latest wave of shutdowns and stay-at-home orders come at a time when policymakers are worried about how long they can keep people cooped up at home.

“Covid fatigue is definitely setting in,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said after imposing a nighttime curfew Thursday on his city on the edge of New York.

An Ifop survey in France showed 60 percent of respondents admitting to flouting rules at least once by making up a false excuse to go out or meeting up with family and friends.

Greece decided on Friday to impose a nighttime curfew after its second-largest city of Thessaloniki saw 32 percent of those tested show a positive result.

Neighbouring Turkey has issued a nationwide ban on smoking in the streets as a precaution because lighting up forces people to take off their masks.

And Portugal has extended work-from-home orders to roughly three-quarters of its population.

As well as worries about mental health and compliance, governments are also anxious about now how long these curbs can last without devastating economies that had only begun to stir back to life.

Capital Economics noted that French President Emmanuel Macron had promised last month to lift restrictions once new daily infection numbers fall from the current 30,000-40,000 to just 5,000.

“On that basis, if cases fall by the same rate now, France’s lockdown could last for over two months,” the consultancy said in a research note.

– Santa’s travel clause –

Yet the news is not all gloom and doom.

Some economists believe that the world is slowly learning to work from home and that the hit of new restrictions will not be as severe in many industries this time around.

And US government scientist Anthony Fauci issued a tantalising hint Thursday that another vaccine is “literally on the threshold of being announced”.

American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced Monday that their vaccine had proven 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 infections in ongoing Phase 3 trials involving more than 40,000 people.

“The cavalry is coming, but don’t put your weapons down,” Fauci told a conference by video link on Thursday.

Most believe he was referring to Moderna — a US biotech firm focused on the same mRNA research as Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech.

And Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tried to lighten the mood even as his country began recording nearly five times as many daily infections as it had when it became the first country in Europe hit by the virus early this year.

“Father Christmas assured me that he already has an international travel certificate: he can travel everywhere and distribute gifts to all the world’s children,” Conte wrote on Facebook.

-AFP

Peaceful Protests In New York As Tensions Rise In Detroit

 

Thousands of Joe Biden supporters marched Wednesday evening in New York to demand every vote in the tight presidential election be counted, as some Donald Trump supporters protested in Detroit demanding a halt to ballot counting in the key state of Michigan.

New York demonstrators were peaceful and spanned generations, with marchers heading from Fifth Avenue towards Washington Square Park in the heart of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.

In New York’s Democratic stronghold demonstrators were hopeful but wary of calling it for their candidate Biden just yet.

“We need to count every vote in this election,” said Sarah Boyagian, part of the Protect The Results Coalition behind the demonstration organized under tight police supervision.

“Donald Trump has claimed the election before every vote is counted and we are sending the message that that is not acceptable,” the 29-year-old told AFP.

John Fraser, 47, said he’s “worried Trump is going to void the vote.”

“I am not sure Biden has won, we have to wait until all votes are counted,” said the software developer, adding: “I am worried that democracy is hanging by a thread right now.”

The Detroit protest outside a ballot processing center were far more tense, according to an AFP photographer and clips on social media.

Cries of “stop the count!” rang out in the city in Michigan — where US media declared Biden the victor — as Trump’s campaign announced a lawsuit to try and suspend the vote count, claiming its team was denied proper access to observe vote counting.

Social media clips showed protestors with fists raised prevented from entering the center by police.

With Michigan’s 16 electoral votes, Biden now has a total of 264 — six shy of the magic number of 270 needed to win the US presidency, according to US network projections.

PHOTOS: #EndSARS Protest in New York

#EndSARS protesters call for immediate action by the Nigerian govt in front of the New York Times office, New York. (Photos: Tiem Okori)

 

#EndSARS protesters have gathered and marched across Manhattan, New York City on Wednesday, October 21.

Nigerians in New York came out in their numbers to register their grievances after the young, unarmed protesters who were protesting police brutality were shot-at at the Lekki toll gate in the late hours of October the 20th in Lagos.

They marched from the Nigerian Embassy, New York to the New York Times office proceeded to 42nd St, moved to the heart of New York, and finally to the United Nations.

 

#EndSARS protesters call for action in Manhattan, New York. (Photos: Tiem Okori)

 

#EndSARS protesters call for action in front of the New York Times office, New York. (Photos: Tiem Okori)

 

#EndSARS protesters call for immediate action by the Nigerian govt in front of the New York Times office, New York. (Photos: Tiem Okori)

 

#EndSARS protester in New York. (Photos: Tiem Okori)

 

#EndSARS protesters hold the Nigerian flag while protesting police brutality in New York. (Photos: Tiem Okori)

 

#EndSARS protesters hold the Nigerian flag while protesting police brutality in Manhattan, New York. (Photos: Tiem Okori)

 

#EndSARS protesters calling on the Nigerian govt to be accountable while holding placards and the Nigerian flag and protesting police brutality in New York. (Photos: Tiem Okori)

 

#EndSARS protesters calling on the Nigerian govt to be accountable in New York. (Photos: Tiem Okori)

 

An #EndSARS protester flying the Nigerian flag and protesting police brutality in New York. (Photos: Tiem Okori)

 

A masked woman taking photos of fellow Nigerians in front of the Nigerian Consulate while protesting police brutality in Nigeria. (Tiem Okori)

 

An #EndSARS protester with a megaphone in front of the Nigerian Consulate calling on the Nigerian govt to listen to the youths’ demands in a demonstration in Manhattan, New York.

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (2)

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (3)

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (4)

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (5)

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (6)

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (7)

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (8)

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (9)

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (11)

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (11)

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (12)

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (13)

 

End SARS Protests March, starting from the Nigerian Consulate building in New York. (Photo by Tiem Okori) (1)

 

New York Museums, Galleries To Reopen From August 24

A painting featuring an idealised view of “Kibo-Kilimanjaro” (1914) by German artist Walter von Ruckteschell is on display in a newly created section on German colonialism in the permanent exhibition of the German Historical Museum (DHM) in Berlin on August 14, 2020. 

 

New York’s museums, art galleries, and other cultural institutions will be allowed to reopen starting August 24, state governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday after a five-month shut down due to the coronavirus.

However, there will be mandatory face masks, timed ticketing with staggered entry, and just 25 percent occupancy, he tweeted.

The reopening does not include performing arts venues, which will remain shut until the end of the year.

New York’s famed Metropolitan Museum of Art, which normally welcomes seven million visitors a year, said it would reopen on August 29.

“After nearly six months, The Met’s reopening will be a historic moment for the Museum and the City,” Met president Daniel Weiss said in a statement.

“Throughout the recent months of uncertainty, isolation and grief, we have longed for the day when we can safely welcome everyone back to The Met, where all can find comfort, inspiration, and a sense of community.”

The Whitney Museum of American Art will reopen on September 3 but the Museum of Modern Art has yet to announce its reopening date.

The Metropolitan Opera is scheduled to resume on December 31, while Broadway theaters will remain closed until at least January.

New York state was initially hard hit by the coronavirus and has recorded 25,232 deaths and 424,167 infections so far, Cuomo said in an update Friday.

He highlighted the state’s progress against the pandemic with under one percent of coronavirus tests proving positive over the past seven days.

 

 

-AFP

Microsoft Eyes Entire Operations Of TikTok In Talks – Report

 

Microsoft has expanded its talks on TikTok to a potential deal that would include buying the global operations of the fast-growing video-sharing app, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

Microsoft declined to comment on the report, after previously disclosing it was considering a deal for TikTok operations in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The US tech giant has been in discussions with TikTok’s Chinese parent firm ByteDance, amid a call by US President Donald Trump to ban the popular app over national security concerns.

Trump and other officials have argued the app could be used for Chinese espionage, a claim repeatedly denied by TikTok, which does not operate within China.

According to the report, Microsoft has shifted its view because of the complexities of splitting the app and making it operable globally.

TikTok operates in some 150 countries and has an estimated billion users.

Trump has set a September 15 deadline for any deal that would take TikTok from the Chinese firm.

AFP

US Supreme Court Orders Trump To Hand Over Financial Records To Prosecutors

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board in the East Room of the White House on June 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP
U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board in the East Room of the White House on June 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

 

The US Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Donald Trump must hand over financial records to prosecutors in New York.

In a 7-2 ruling, the court said the president does not have absolute immunity from criminal investigation.

The nation’s highest court also issued a ruling in a separate case concerning a request by Democratic-led congressional committees for Trump’s tax returns and financial records.

In a 7-2 ruling and a partial victory for Trump, the court sent the congressional case back to a lower court for further consideration.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, has asked for eight years of the president’s financial records in connection with an alleged “hush money” payment made to porn actress and former Playboy model Stormy Daniels.

Trump’s attorneys had claimed the president was immune from criminal investigation — a claim rejected by the court.

“Two hundred years ago, a great jurist of our Court established that no citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding,” the court said. “We reaffirm that principle today.”

Vance called the ruling “a tremendous victory for our nation’s system of justice and its founding principle that no one – not even a president – is above the law.

“Our investigation, which was delayed for almost a year by this lawsuit, will resume, guided as always by the grand jury’s solemn obligation to follow the law and the facts, wherever they may lead,” Vance said.

 

AFP

Epstein’s Ex-Girlfriend Charged With Six Counts In Sex Abuse Case

The wealthy US financier Jeffrey Epstein, indicted on charges he trafficked underage girls for sex, committed suicide in prison, US news media reported on August 10, 2019. / AFP

 

Ghislaine Maxwell charged with six counts in Epstein sex abuse case

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was charged Thursday with six counts relating to the sexual abuse and trafficking of minors in the case of late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

 

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at a New York function in 2005
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at a New York function in 2005

 

An indictment filed in a New York court showed that the charges include conspiracy to entice minors to travel in order to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation of minors for criminal sexual activity and perjury.

Maxwell, whose whereabouts had been unknown following Epstein’s suicide while awaiting trial last summer, was arrested by FBI officers in New Hampshire on Thursday morning.

Epstein hanged himself in a New York cell in August last year while awaiting trial on charges of trafficking minors for sex and US prosecutors are investigating whether he had any accomplices.

 

 

-AFP

New York Mayor Lifts Curfew Ahead Of Pandemic ‘Reopening’

(FILES) In this file photo New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at Pier 90 on March 30, 2020 in New York. – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio early June 7, 2020 lifted a curfew he had imposed on the city for nearly a week as anti-racism protests raged there and nationwide. “Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city,” de Blasio tweeted in announcing that the curfew was over “effective immediately.” Bryan R. Smith / AFP.

 

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio early Sunday lifted a curfew he had imposed on the city for nearly a week as anti-racism protests raged there and nationwide.

“Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city,” de Blasio tweeted in announcing that the curfew was over “effective immediately.”

The 8:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew — the city’s first in 75 years — ends a day early on the eve of the city’s “reopening” on Monday after more than two months of sheltering-at-home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This week New York will enter phase one of the state’s plan to reboot economic activities shuttered due to COVID-19, which caused more than 21,000 confirmed and probable deaths in America’s most populous city.

The initial stage of reopening will allow construction and manufacturing to resume. Retail stores will be allowed limited in-store and curbside pickup.

The mayor had extended the controversial curfew June 2 and moved it up to start more than 20 minutes before sunset, after a number of luxury stores in Manhattan were looted on the heels of mass protests over police brutality.

READ ALSO: Pope Says Worst Of COVID-19 Is Over, Vatican Clear Of Cases

The second weekend of protests, triggered by the police killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, drew out marchers by the thousands but were largely peaceful.

Many protesters defied the curfew on Saturday but they were largely ignored by police, who in nights prior had clamped down aggressively on demonstrations that violated the nighttime order.

Over the past week, social media has been deluged with images showing police arresting, cornering and at times beating demonstrators with batons.

Beyond the general call to dismantle systemic racism, the New York protests aim to change a law that shields police discipline records from the public, and cut the 36,000-member police force’s $6 billion annual budget.

AFP

New York Under Curfew As Looters Hit Luxury Stores

New York City Police Department (NYPD) patrol in a closed off Times Square shorty before the 11 p.m. curfew went into effect June 1, 2020 as demonstrators rallied across the five boroughs in a call for justice for George Floyd. – New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio today declared a city curfew from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am, as sometimes violent anti-racism protests roil communities nationwide. TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP.

 

New York was under a curfew that would last until early Tuesday morning, officials said, after looters raided stores in central Manhattan, targeting some of the city’s top retailers.

Upmarket fashion store Michael Kors on Fifth Avenue was among the luxury outlets hit, along with Nike, Lego and electronics shops across Midtown, before the 11:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew came into effect, AFP journalists said.

Groups of young people moved from block to block around the district, usually bustling with tourists but deserted due to the coronavirus, with entire streets blocked by police.

Images from local NY1 television showed some young people running out of a Best Buy electronics store before being apprehended by the police.

Stores in the south of Manhattan suffered a similar fate, according to an AFP photographer.

The New York Times reported that the flagship Macy’s department store had also been targeted by looters.

Police did not immediately confirm this, simply saying that “numerous stores were hit” and arrests made “in the hundreds” across the city.

READ ALSO: ‘Endemic Racial Discrimination’ Exposed In US – UN Rights Chief

Mayor Bill de Blasio said a lot of stores around Madison Avenue had been hit and the situation was “really not acceptable.”

As a result, he said the curfew would start from 8:00 pm on Tuesday instead of 11:00 pm.

“The city is fully under control, and overwhelmingly calm and peaceful,” he nevertheless insisted on NY1.

– ‘Time to go home’ –

The imposition of the curfew had been announced a few hours earlier by the mayor and New York state governor Andrew Cuomo after protests and looting during the weekend — notably in the trendy SoHo district.

The mayor tweeted late Monday that “protesters were overwhelmingly peaceful today” but that some people were out to damage property and steal.

“We support peaceful protest in this city. But right now it’s time to go home,” de Blasio said.

“Some people are out tonight not to protest but to destroy property and hurt others -— and those people are being arrested. Their actions are unacceptable and we won’t allow them in our city.”

New York, the economic capital of the United States, and around 40 other cities across the country have imposed curfews after violent protests against police brutality triggered by the death of African-American George Floyd in Minnesota.

Just after 11:00 pm, around a hundred people held a peaceful demonstration in front of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the scene of major protests in recent days, taking a knee in tribute to victims of police brutality, according to an AFP journalist.

Police observed them from a distance but did not arrest anyone despite the curfew.

While looters hit New York, in Washington President Donald Trump said he was “dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property.”

Mayor de Blasio, a Democrat, denounced Trump’s “bellicose words” and “divisive rhetoric.”

“I don’t think it’s a statement from the last few hours that has caused all this, I think it’s what he’s done for years that has contributed,” he said.

AFP

New York’s Daily Coronavirus Death Toll Falls Below 100 – Governor

 

The number of deaths in New York state caused by the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours has fallen to 84, the lowest one-day total since late March, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.

“The news is good news,” with the lowest toll since March 24, Cuomo said in his daily televised briefing. Hospitalizations, intubations and new infections were all in decline, he added.

“In my head, I was always looking to get under 100,” Cuomo said, speaking from the governor’s mansion in Albany.

“It doesn’t do good for any of those 84 families that are feeling the pain,” he added, “but for me it’s just a sign we are making real progress” in what had been the hardest-hit US state.

At the pandemic’s peak in New York in early April, the authorities were reporting more than 1,000 deaths a day.

Parts of the state that saw fewer virus cases have already begun to ease lockdown restrictions, but they have yet to be lifted in New York City, the former virus epicenter in the US.

The city’s beaches will remain closed for this long Memorial Day weekend, which traditionally marks the beginning of the US summer season.

Beaches are being reopened elsewhere in the state, and in other coastal areas, often with bathers required to observe social distancing.

Cuomo issued an unexpected order late Friday to allow public assemblies of up to 10 people “for any lawful purpose.”

He was easing an early order that applied only to religious services and Memorial Day celebrations, after a civil liberties group filed suit to object to the narrower language.