Trump Tower Becomes Central Protest Point in New York, Chicago as Unrest Grows Following George Floyd Death

Protesters in Chicago and New York City gathered outside the Trump Tower buildings in each city during protests against police brutality. The protests in both cities were among dozens in major cities across the country inspired by George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis Monday. President Donald Trump himself spent part of the day in Florida to attend a successful launch at Kennedy Space Center.

At least seven people were arrested outside Trump Tower in Manhattan after protesters would not leave the middle of Fifth Avenue to get onto the sidewalks, reports The New York Times. "No sidewalks," the protesters yelled. "This is a protest. We belong in the streets." There were protests in all five New York City boroughs, and while many of them were peaceful, some became tense and violent. Two viral videos showed two police SUVs plow into a group of protesters in Brooklyn.

Meanwhile in Chicago, protesters took a knee in silence after passing Trump Tower, reports USA Today. The situation in front of the building turned violent there, and clashes with police broke out. Police tried to lead the protesters from the building south, across the Chicago River. Some protesters threw bottles at police outside the building and lit off fireworks, reports The Chicago Sun-Times. Officers took some protesters in custody but did not say how many people were arrested. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot set a 9 p.m. CT curfew to continue into Sunday morning.

During a press conference Saturday night, Lightfoot praised the "patience" of officers who were the target of projectiles during the demonstrations. "I want to express my disappointment and really my total disgust at the number of others who came to today's protest armed for all-out battle," she said, adding that people do not come to peaceful protests with projectiles to throw at officers. "The situation has clearly devolved, and we've stepped in to make the necessary arrests," she added. "We're going to be aggressive in arresting the people who want to engage in criminal acts."

Lightfoot later said she was "engaged for the last six-plus hours watching a tragedy unfold" in Chicago. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the city would have access to "any resources" needed, but Lightfoot has not asked for the Illinois National Guard to be activated yet.


Protests across the country began this week after Floyd's death. Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. He and three other officers involved in Floyd's arrest were fired from the force. Video shows Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes until Floyd lost consciousness.