George Floyd death: Trump denies protests forced him into bunker

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Media caption& # 39; I'm tired of being afraid & # 39 ;: why Americans are protesting

U.S. President Donald Trump has denied reports that he was rushed to the White House bunker on Friday night during anti-racism protests.

Trump told Fox News radio that he fell during the day for a "short period of time" for an "inspection".

There were protests near the White House and across the US for days over the death in custody of George Floyd.

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Although some have become violent, the defense secretary said he does not support the deployment of "active service forces".

Mark Esper said on Wednesday that he did not support the application of the Insurrection Law, which would allow the deployment of federal troops to apply domestic law.

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"The option of using active forces should only be used as a last resort and only in the most urgent and dire situations. We are not in any of these situations right now," he said.

This marks a break with President Trump, who threatened to use the 1807 act and call on troops to quell demonstrations.

The death of African-American George Floyd, whose neck was caught by the knee of a white policeman in Minneapolis, sparked widespread protests.

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the United States for eight days against racism and police killings of black Americans, while calling for an end to racism and discrimination.

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The vast majority have been peaceful, but some have become violent and curfew has been imposed in several cities.

What did Mr. Trump say?

He was talking on the radio with Fox's Brian Kilmeade, in addition to posting a series of new tweets amid continuing criticism of his response to the disturbances.

A New York Times report quoted a source as saying that Trump was taken to the bunker on Friday night with bodyguards.

"It was a fake report," said Trump, adding, "I was there for a short, short time. And it was a lot for an inspection … maybe at some point you need it."

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Media captionAleem Maqbool reports peaceful protests in Washington's Lafayette park

On Monday, Trump was criticized after police dispersed peaceful protesters to make way for him to stand outside the nearby St. John's church, holding a Bible.

Trump denied telling the police to disperse the protesters.

"I didn't say, oh move them out, I didn't know who was there," he said, adding that "most religious leaders loved" their visit to the church.

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, accused Trump of using the church for "political party purposes", while Washington Archbishop Wilton D Gregory said the president "manipulated" the sanctuary.

When asked about law enforcement during the protests, Mr. Trump admitted "you need to improve what they are doing … we have to get the police departments, everyone needs to improve", without providing details about the new policies.

In his tweets, Trump defended his background in race relations, saying his presidency had done more for black Americans than presidential rival Joe Biden had done "in 43 years".

Biden said Trump's actions are trying to "serve the passions of his base" and promised not to "traffic in fear and division".

George Floyd's death

What's the latest in protests?

Tuesday night saw tens of thousands of mostly peaceful protests in the US, with markedly low levels of violence, although some protesters continued to challenge the curfew.

One of the biggest protests, accompanied by Floyd's relatives, took place in his hometown, Houston, Texas.

On Wednesday, there was international support for the Floyd family, with marches in Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia and elsewhere.

Chronology of US protests

Tributes to George Floyd at an impromptu memorial
Image subtitle Tributes to George Floyd at an impromptu memorial

Image copyright by Getty Images

George Floyd dies after being arrested by the police outside a store in Minneapolis & comma; Minnesota. The images show a white comma officer; Derek Chauvin & comma; kneeling on Mr. Floyd's neck for several minutes while he is stuck to the floor. Floyd is heard repeatedly saying "I can't breathe". He is later declared dead in the hospital.

Protesters in Minneapolis
Image subtitle Protesters in Minneapolis

Image copyright by AFP

Four policemen involved in George Floyd's arrest are fired. The protests start when the video of the prison is widely shared on social media. Hundreds of protesters take to the streets of Minneapolis and vandalize police cars and the police station with graffiti.

Protesters are on the streets of Portland & comma; Oregon
Image subtitle Protesters are on the streets of Portland & comma; Oregon

Image copyright by Reuters

The protests have spread to other cities, including Memphis and Los Angeles. In some places, comma; like Portland & comma; Oregon & comma; protesters lie on the road & comma; singing "I can't breathe". Protesters gather again at the Minneapolis police station, where the officers involved in George Floyd's prison were located and set on fire. The building is evacuated and the police retreat.

CNN team members arrested in protest
Image subtitle CNN team members arrested in protest

Image copyright by Reuters

President Trump blames the violence for the lack of leadership in Minneapolis and threatens to send the National Guard in a tweet. He follows him in a second tweet with a warning "when the withdrawal begins & comma; the shooting begins". The second tweet is hidden on Twitter for "glorifying violence".

CNN team members arrested in protest
Image subtitle CNN team members arrested in protest

Image copyright by Reuters

A CNN reporter & comma; Omar Jimenez & comma; is arrested while covering the Minneapolis protest. Jimenez was reporting live when police handcuffed him. A few minutes later, several of his colleagues are also arrested. They are all released later, when confirmed as members of the media.

Derek Chauvin accused of murder

Former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, after being charged with the death of George Floyd
Image subtitle Former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, after being charged with the death of George Floyd

Image copyright by Getty Images

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin & comma; 44 & comma; is accused of murder and wrongful death. The charges have a combined maximum sentence of 35 years.

Protesters throw garbage in New York
Image subtitle Protesters throw garbage in New York

Image copyright by Reuters

Violence spreads across the United States on the sixth night of protests. A total of at least five people were killed in protests from Indianapolis to Chicago. More than 75 cities have seen protests. At least 4 point 400 people were arrested. The curfew is imposed in the USA to try to contain the unrest.

Trump posing with a Bible outside a closed church
Image subtitle Trump posing with a Bible outside a closed church

Image copyright by EPA

President Trump threatens to send the armed forces to contain the growing civil unrest. He says that if cities and states do not control the protests and "defend their residents", he will mobilize the army and "quickly resolve the problem for them". Trump poses in front of a damaged church shortly after the police used tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters nearby.

George Floyd's family joined protesters in Houston
Image subtitle George Floyd's family joined protesters in Houston

Image copyright by Getty

Tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets again. One of the biggest protests is in George Floyd's hometown, Houston & comma; Texas. Many defy curfew in several cities & comma; but the demonstrations are largely peaceful.

Thousands sang "without justice, without peace, without racist police" and "black lives are important" in central London.

About 20,000 in Paris recalled the death of black Adama Traore, in the custody of the French police in 2016.

What is the background?

The US protests started after a video showed that Floyd was arrested on May 25 in Minneapolis and a white policeman remained kneeling on his neck for several minutes, even after claiming he could not breathe.

The policeman, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and will appear in court next week. Three other policemen were fired.

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Media captionPeaceful protests in honor of George Floyd

The Floyd case follows Michael Brown's prominent cases in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in New York; and others that have spurred the Black Lives Matter movement in recent years.

For many, the outrage over Floyd's death also reflects years of frustration with inequality and socioeconomic discrimination.

How did the turmoil affect you? Share your experiences by email .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist.

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