Protesters demonstrate in New York, the US, June 2 2020. Picture: AFP/JOHANNES EISELE
Protesters demonstrate in New York, the US, June 2 2020. Picture: AFP/JOHANNES EISELE

New York — New York's mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday extended a night-time curfew for the city until June 7 following outbreaks of violence and looting during antiracism protests gripping America.

The mayor said that the deployment of National Guard soldiers, seen in other protest-hit states and demanded by President Donald Trump, was not necessary, however.

De Blasio told reporters that an 8.00pm to 5.00am curfew, due to come into force on Tuesday, would now run until Sunday.

It comes after a curfew on Monday that began at 11.00pm failed to deter the looting a number of luxury stores across Manhattan.

Retail giant Macy's, Michael Kors on Fifth Avenue, along with Nike, Lego and electronics shops were among upmarket shops that were looted.

Trump, whose New York home is near the stores, took to Twitter twice on Tuesday morning to demand that local leaders “act fast” and call up the National Guard.

Several US cities have deployed the guard in the face of angry protests against police brutality following the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd by police during an arrest in Minneapolis last week.

But De Blasio said the New York police department's (NYPD) 36,000 officers could handle the unrest.

“We will take steps immediately to make sure there will be peace and order,” said a visibly angry mayor, as he announced the lengthened curfew.

He said it was not “wise” to bring in the National Guard.

But New York governor Andrew Cuomo said the guard stood ready if requested, adding that the NYPD and de Blasio “did not do their job” in failing to stop the looting.

He described the violence as “a disgrace” and “inexcusable.”

 “They have to do a better job,” Cuomo said. Cuomo said the mayor “underestimates the scope of the problem” and the “duration of the problem” and has not used enough police to address the situation.

New York's curfew will end just as the city prepares to begin reopening its shattered economy on Monday following more than two months of lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The white Minneapolis police officer videotaped kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes before he died has been charged with third-degree murder.

The incident has renewed outcry over excessive police force that helped spark the national Black Lives Matter movement.

While many of the protests have been peaceful, some have resulted in arrests, looting and damage to police vehicles and buildings.

Also on Tuesday the Catholic archbishop of Washington criticised Trump’s visit to a Catholic shrine in the city, a day after religious leaders in the nation’s capital condemned the use of teargas against peaceful protesters before the president staged a photo op at a historic church.

The event was ostensibly intended to promote an executive order Trump plans to sign later Tuesday to “advance international religious freedom”, according to the White House.

But the journey to the Catholic site followed intense criticism from religious leaders over the government’s decision to use force on Monday to disperse a protest in front of the White House against police brutality.

AFP/Bloomberg

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