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Violent Protests in Minneapolis; China Approves Controversial Security Law; Weekly Unemployment Data Released Today; Latin America New Epicenter of the Pandemic. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 28, 2020 - 06:30   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: For whom this is his strong suit. He suffered a number of enormous losses over the course of his life, his wife, his children. And so empathy is something that comes easy for him. Offering condolences and guiding people through grief and tragedy is something that comes easy for him. And I think his campaign has -- sees this as one of those clear opportunities for him to not just be firing back at the president all the time, but to really pick his moments, frankly, and draw those contrasts for the American public at a time like this.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Abby Phillip, Dr. Ali Khan, thank you both very much for being with us this morning.

And we are continuing to follow breaking news. This is live right now. These are live pictures of police in riot gear. And you can see protesters trying to speak to them. This is on the south side, we're told, of Minneapolis. There have been fires burning all night. You can see that in the back -- the background there behind this police line. Minneapolis is in turmoil this morning.

We have the latest for you as people demand justice for George Floyd. Breaking details in a live report, next.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we do have break news.

These are pictures from just moments ago. The south side of Minneapolis. You can see police in riot gear. There's a building burning behind them. This follows a night of protests over the death of George Floyd, the unarmed black man who died pleading that he couldn't breathe with a police officer's knee in his neck.

This has all been unfolding right where we have our reporter Omar Jimenez. He is live on the scene.

Omar, give us a sense of what you've been seeing there.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Minneapolis is waking up to part of its city on fire this morning. You can see it over my shoulder. And just to my left here, this is what used to be a Wendy's. And how do I know that? Because my crew and I ate here just two nights ago at the end of the day covering some of these protests. Now, just days later, completely in ruin and on fire, likely in the process of protests that gave way to riots.

And as you walk over this way, you can see the scales of the flames here this morning and the scale of the damage that has occurred as a side effect of these protests, again, that gave way to riots.

This building was a construction structure. You can see the smoke billowing up into the air. The fire crews are here trying to get a hold on it. But, again, you look at the magnitude of these flames and how quickly they went up, again, over the course of just about two hours or so is when my crew got here in the early morning hours and saw this explode right before our eyes. And this, again, is the reality of what this has turned into.

Now, the central point in this, I'm going to give you some context of where we are, if you turn this way, over in this direction is a Target and a parking lot that lies right across the street from the Minneapolis Police Third Precinct, which has really been the central point of all of these protests. Why? Well, because it has stemmed from how the death of George Floyd initiated and happened and the circumstances around it that we observed in that awful cell phone video that we have seen circulate and then how it has been handled since.

Now, in regards to the disciplinary action for these officers, the police department here acted pretty quickly, firing them within 24 hours. But the family, protesters and even the mayor of Minneapolis say that's not enough. They want charges filed against these officers. The mayor going as far as to wonder why at least the arresting officer is not behind bars right now.

Now, an investigation is continuing to play out at the FBI level and at the state level as well, trying to gather all the facts before they refer any possible charges. But as you can see, the people here, there is a lot of anger in this community, as we have seen in places across this country, again, over how this is handled. And today, Thursday morning, Minneapolis is waking up to the manifestation of that anger with part of its city on fire.


CAMEROTA: Omar, the backdrop behind you is just stunning. Thank you for being on the ground for us. Stay safe. We will check back with you many, many times throughout the hour.

Now to international news. Also breaking overnight, China proving a controversial national security law in Hong Kong.

CNN's Anna Coren is live there with those breaking details. Anna.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, this basically means that dissent and any unrest in Hong Kong will be crushed by China. Freedom is speech is something that has separated Hong Kong from the mainland under this new national security law approved by the National People's Congress in Beijing this afternoon. That means that sedition, succession, subversion, treason, terrorism, foreign interference will be banned here in Hong Kong.

We heard from the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, at the end of the NPC meeting and he said, quote, this will protect Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability.

Well, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo strongly disagrees, saying that this decision is disastrous. He says that it confirms Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China, which, of course, is a condition to maintaining its special status, trade status, with the United States.

Does this mean sanctions for officials here in Hong Kong, for officials in China? We just don't know. But you would have to assume that that special trade and economic relationship that Hong Kong has enjoyed with Hong Kong for many, many years is now in jeopardy.


We're expecting further word from the United States in the coming days. But we heard from pro-democracy lawmakers, Alisyn, and they say that this signals a death knell for Hong Kong. That this is the end of Hong Kong as we know it. Another lawmaker said that they have taken away our soul. That Hong Kong is now just another mainland Chinese city.

What does this mean for the protesters who have been turning out, voicing their opposition? They're concerned of this national security law. It means that they are going to be arrested. And if yesterday is any indication, 360 people arrested. They're chanting slogans, Alisyn. This is what people are now arrested for. You cannot even say "free Hong Kong" in Hong Kong anymore.

There is fear. There is a sense of resignation. But the anger is palpable. Those who are going to continue to fight for their freedoms say that this is the only thing they can do. They are going to fight for the freedoms that they've always loved and enjoyed.


CAMEROTA: That is a huge development, obviously, with all sorts of repercussions.

Anna Coren, thank you very much for the reporting.

Now to economic news.

Boeing forced to fire thousands of workers as more layoffs are expected. We will preview this morning's unemployment report next.



BERMAN: Later this morning, the government will release the weekly unemployment data, the numbers we've seen over the last 10 weeks. They have been unprecedented.

Joining me now, CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

Romans, what do we expect this morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Maybe another 2 million layoffs or furloughs in the week, John. It has been just a really terrible ten weeks. That would bring you to about 40 million, 40 million layoffs or furloughs over the past two and a half months. Something we have never seen before. Of those people who are being laid off, of course, when they finally get their first jobless benefits check, there's an extra $600 in there. So you have your state benefits plus taxpayers are kicking in $600 a week for people to try to at least bridge this gap here, this time right now of a cratering U.S. economy. That all runs out at the end of July. So maybe another 2 million, 2.1 million layoffs in the week. That would bring the grand total over the past ten weeks to 40 million, John.

BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans for us. Keep us posted.

In the meantime, Latin America is now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic with cases there exploding, including a new high in the number of deaths. We have a live report, next.



CAMEROTA: Coronavirus cases in Latin America continue to soar. Mexico reporting its largest daily increase in new cases. Health officials say that region is now the epicenter of the pandemic.

CNN's Matt Rivers is live for us in Mexico City with the latest.

How does it look there, Matt?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alisyn, you know, for months many of us here in Latin America were watching what was happening in China, watching what was happening in Europe and wondering if that kind of an outbreak could potentially happen in this region. And it turns out all we needed to do was wait.


RIVERS (voice over): As the coronavirus sweeps around the world, the eye of this storm has landed on Latin America.

RIVERS (on camera): Describe the pandemic in Latin America. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the epicenter of the -- of the pandemic now.

RIVERS (voice over): Death rates in many Latin American countries are already on the rise, while the average seven-day death toll for the U.S., the U.K. and Italy are all headed down, in Brazil, Mexico and Peru, the death tolls are spiking.

So, why Latin America and why now?

Start with Brazil, with about 410,000 confirmed cases, the second highest in the world behind the U.S. President Jair Bolsonaro has all but ignored the virus threat and still attends large rallies, saying the true problems are quarantine measures hurting the economy. Many disagree.

The virus is everywhere, says this woman in Rio de Janeiro. I only go out when it's absolutely necessary.

State governors have tried to make up for a lack of action at the federal level, but it's been, at best, a patchwork response nationwide as massive Covid-19 cemeteries now dot the tropical landscape.

In Mexico, President Lopez-Obrador also downplayed the threat early on. He's since urged people to stay home but resisted implementing strict quarantine measures. And just two days ago, Mexico reported its largest single-day increase in deaths.

But even swift shutdowns haven't helped everywhere. Cases have skyrocketed in Peru, even though it enacted a strict quarantine on March 16th. Streets there and across Latin America have remained full because, simply put, people can't afford not to work.

LUIS GUILLERMO SOLIS, FORMER PRESIDENT OF COSTA RICA: It's a daily challenge. They don't have savings. They live in very inadequate quarters.

RIVERS: Poverty is rampant in many of the region's massive cities. Not only do people have to go out and earn a living, but at home densely packed neighborhoods make social distancing all but impossible. It all adds up to a region starting to buckle under the weight of a global pandemic it is not equipped to fight it.


RIVERS: The other thing you see in Latin America is a lack of investment in public health care systems. And so while it's also -- while it's difficult to prevent the spread of this outbreak, it can also be difficult to treat those people who are already sick. Which means, for some countries in Latin America, the worst of this outbreak, Alisyn, is still yet to come.

CAMEROTA: What a reminder. Matt, thank you very much.

All right, we are following breaking news out of Minneapolis.

It has been a night of violent protests over the death of George Floyd. We will speak with George Floyd's brother, next.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: We do begin with breaking news.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. You're watching NEW DAY.

And it has been a painful night of violence and protests in Minneapolis. At this hour, fires are still burning on the south side of Minneapolis after protesters took to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd, the unarmed, handcuffed black man who pleaded with a police officer to let him breathe as the officer pinned him to the pavement with a knee to his neck.

The city's mayor is urging people to leave the area and he has reportedly asked the governor to call in the National Guard.

In a moment, we will speak with George Floyd's brother for the family's first reaction to the anger and the unrest over his brother's death.

BERMAN: The Minneapolis mayor also says he does not understand why the police officer responsible for Floyd's death has not been charged.

Overnight, police did use tear gas to disperse the crowds. At least one man is dead this morning. The circumstances still under investigation. Police say he was shot and killed outside a pawnshop near the demonstration.

As for developments in the coronavirus crisis, this morning, silence from the president of the United States as the death toll surpasses 100,000 Americans. He did order flags lowered to half-staff last weekend, but since passing the 100,000 death marker, no public reaction from the president, no national moment of grief and no comfort to friends and loved ones of the 100,000 lives lost in less than three months.

We begin, though, with the breaking news out of Minneapolis.

CNN's Omar Jimenez live on the scene.

Omar, you've been up all night watching these developments. Tell us what's happening now.

JIMENEZ: Well, John, frankly, Minneapolis is waking up to parts of its city on fire. Part like where we are standing right now. Basically across the street from the Minneapolis Police Third Precinct, which has really been the central location for these protests. Protests that, as you can see, devolved into riots and multiple structures on fire. You just -- as we pan over, you see the smoke billowing across the

entire south, southeast Minneapolis area here. And this as smoldering and as on fire as it is, when we first got here, right before that or so, this was a two-story building.


was a whole other section that was completely engulfed in flames and then eventually collapsed.

Now, you go across the street from this building.