Protestors have gathered in front of Trump International Hotel, chanting “Throw him out!” pic.twitter.com/FpboS1HTLD— Ryan Field (@RyanFieldABC) June 7, 2020
Peaceful protests continued Sunday with hundreds of protesters, most of them wearing masks, making their voices heard in several locations across the city.
Marches took place over the course of the day as demonstrators walked through Union Square, Washington Square Park, Columbus Circle and throughout Brooklyn.
Police at multiple protests in Brooklyn on Sunday were not wearing riot masks, which had been standard at protests for the past week.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday morning that New York City's curfew was lifted, effective immediately, as the city prepares for reopening.
The mayor tweeted "yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city."
The 8 p.m. citywide curfew, New York's first in decades, had been set to remain in effect through at least Sunday.
"I want to thank everybody who has expressed their views peacefully," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday morning. "I made the decision to end the curfew. And honestly, I hope it's the last time we will ever need a curfew in New York City."
While the curfew was lifted, the mayor said a decision hadn't been made yet on whether to lift a ban on vehicles in Manhattan south of 96th Street after 8 p.m.
The decision to end it early comes as New York City prepares to enter phase 1 of reopening on Monday.
De Blasio said police had arrested just four people and issued 24 court summonses on Saturday. There were more than 2,000 arrests made through Friday morning, with the largest number coming on Sunday and Monday, when hundreds were arrested as the police tried to control looting in Manhattan's shopping districts.
On Saturday, New York City police pulled back on enforcing the curfew as thousands took to the streets and parks to protest police brutality, sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
More than two hours after the curfew had passed Saturday night, groups of several hundred demonstrators continued to march in Manhattan and Brooklyn, while police monitored them but took a hands-off approach.
Local politicians and civil liberties advocates had called for an end to the 8 p.m. curfew, complaining that it causes needless friction when officers try to enforce it. But de Blasio had initially insisted the curfew would remain in place throughout the weekend.
Newscopter 7 flew over Barclays Center in Brooklyn Saturday night as demonstrators defied the curfew. White and black, young and old, held sign chanting peacefully and demanding change.
Police did not force those in attendance to immediately return home on a tenth consecutive day of rallies.
Thousands of people crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into lower Manhattan, where other groups numbering in the hundreds to thousands marched or gathered in places like Foley Square, home to state and federal court buildings, and Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.
Further uptown, police had erected barriers to all but close off Times Square to vehicle and foot traffic. As the curfew passed, a large group of protesters walked onto the FDR Drive, the main north-south artery along Manhattan's east side, closely monitored by police, forcing police to temporarily shut down one side of the roadway.
Earlier, Julian Arriola-Hennings said he didn't expect the movement to slow down anytime soon.
"I'm never surprised by people taking action because inaction, it really hurts the soul," he said as he told protesters at Washington Square Park that they would soon march from there to City Hall. "People's feet get tired, their souls get re-energized for the right purpose."
However, one disruption of peace happened when an apparent angry driver attempted to drive into a group of peaceful protesters at St. John's Place and Brooklyn Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
The vehicle went up on a sidewalk and nearly hit several bicyclists. One man even climbed onto the roof of the SUV, trying to get the driver to stop.
Earlier in the day, other large groups were in Central Park, including a gathering of medical workers who took a collective knee on Fifth Avenue at 7 p.m. the same time as the nightly "clap because we care" tribute to health care workers fighting the COVID-19 battle. They took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time a former Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on Floyd's neck. One medical worker told Eyewitness News that the pandemic of racism has plagued society far longer than the novel coronavirus.
Another group in Columbus Circle held a moment of silence and took a collective knee, scenes echoed around town. They marched through the Upper West Side, making their voices heard.
Throughout the day, thousands walked with signs, chants and a message.
The violence subsided as the week progressed, with many of the recent arrests resulting from curfew violations.
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