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New York Governor: Inequality Has To Be Addressed; Fire And Fury Spread Across U.S. In Fifth Night Of Protests; Police Clear Downtown Minneapolis Streets; New York City Poised To Reopen In Two Weeks; Post-Violence Curfews Imposed On At Least 25 U.S. Cities; Miami Sees Around-The-Clock Protests; England Removes Restrictions On "Extremely Vulnerable"; SpaceX-NASA Launch. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired May 31, 2020 - 04:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello. Welcome to viewers in the United States and all around the world, I'm Natalie Allen live from CNN Center in Atlanta.

Curfews are in effect in at least 25 U.S. cities from coast to coast after days of protests marred by violence, arson and looting. It's a collective outpouring of rage over the death of another African American at the hands of police.

More than 1 dozen states have called up the National Guard. That includes Washington, D.C. Troops there will assist with security near the White House because of large groups of vocal protesters gathered nearby.

Throughout the day Saturday, we saw numerous cars being torched throughout the afternoon and building fires as the sun went down. Police departments have been stretched thin dealing with protests. Looters have taken advantage of that situation to clean out stores.

It's the very thing protesters fear is undermining their message of nonviolent resistance. We begin our coverage in Minneapolis, that's where the gruesome death of George Floyd on Monday while in police custody ignited a level of anger in the U.S. not seen in a generation.

Earlier, protesters there were met with tear gas. Police tweeted a large group was throwing objects at officers. More on this situation from CNN's Miguel Marquez. He's in downtown Minneapolis.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So we've had to retreat back to downtown Minneapolis. And I want to show you sort of how police have prepared for what they think might be coming.

This is the 1st Precinct, which is the biggest precinct in Minneapolis. These are barricades along the street here, on both sides.

But the precinct itself, it's that building right in the middle of the street with the American flag. They have four levels of cement blocks, 2,000 pounds each, surrounding the entire building to protect it.

We were with protesters earlier today. Police successfully sort of broke them up, which is what they seem to want to do. They weren't arresting people, weren't certainly trying to arrest people.

But they did fire lots of tear gas to break them up. I spoke with one young protester. It was a peaceful protest. And he explained why it was so important for him to be out there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what I got to say to the people who are destroying things. If you really feel like you have to take an opportunity, like if you're going to be opportunistic, something is wrong with you.

If you cannot stand up and fight the good fight and you want to be a cheater and go ahead and take what we're trying to do, something is wrong with you. Because what we're trying to do is stand up for the basic right of humanity. That's what we're trying to do and we're trying to do it in a peaceful way.

We do not want to go through this anymore, OK?

I want to be able to go in a white neighborhood and feel safe. I want to be able, when a cop is driving behind me, I don't have to clench and be tense, OK?

I want to be able, just to be free and not have to think about every step I take. Because at the end of the day, being black is a crime. At the end of the day, being born black is a crime to them. And I don't understand why because we're all humans. And that's sickening.


MARQUEZ: This is downtown Minneapolis and this is what a lot of the city looks like right now, just completely shut down, which is the promise that the mayor and the governor made today.

There are enormous numbers of National Guard troops. They are ramping up to about 10,000-11,000 Minnesota National Guard troops for Minneapolis. We were in neighborhoods after the protesters we were with were broken up.

And it's disturbing to be in those neighborhoods because residents now, home owners have blocked off their neighborhoods, put up barriers along the streets, put up bright lights at the end of the neighborhoods.

And along each block, you have people who are holding clubs, golf clubs, bats, protecting their property, protecting their homes. The same thing with businesses. Not only are businesses boarded up but you have people in their trucks

and their cars, parked around the business and sitting at the business, trying to protect their business from any looting.

They don't want anything else to burn. That may be the one bright spot tonight for all the difficulty that the police and the authorities have had in getting these protests under control. So far tonight, nothing has burned. Back to you.


ALLEN: Good news on that front in Minneapolis.

Now we turn to Washington. Protesters gathered blocks from the White House, some setting fires in Dumpsters that they dragged onto the streets. Larger fires burned nearby.


ALLEN: Including one near the historic Hay Adams Hotel. At last check there was no damage to the hotel. Windows were smashed at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. The historic St. John's Episcopal Church, also known as the Church of the Presidents, is across the street.

Across the country, the California National Guard is being deployed to Los Angeles after the governor declared a state of emergency for America's second largest city. There were widespread fires and looting Saturday night and a curfew is now in effect. Our reporter, Kyung Lah, has more on violent demonstrations there.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: The city of Los Angeles seeing not just skirmishes with the police and protests across the city but also fires at businesses in this particular shopping district.

I'm on Melrose Avenue. This is an area known for independent businesses, fashionable shops. What you're looking at is the fire department in the city, trying to put out the remnants of a fire in a shoe store and an adjacent nail store.

This fire happened as we watched another fire a half a block away at a separate shoe store. Police say they've been seeing these fires happen shortly after looting takes place at them.

And looting is something that we've seen up and down these streets here in the Melrose shopping district. We've seen people breaking through the glass, tagging everything inside and then cleaning the entire place out.

The police department is still trying to clear the streets, working with the Los Angeles sheriff's department. A curfew is in place 8:00 pm until 5:00 am local time. What is a bit getting lost in all of this is what these protests began as. The message of them was and the reason why they started.

What this graffiti says is, "'I can't breathe,' George Floyd."

We were watching one store as looters were running in, grabbing shoes, trying to clear it out. There was a young black woman, a protester, who was screaming at the looters, saying, what are you doing? -- Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


ALLEN: Many cities are under curfew right now but not New York. Mayor Bill de Blasio says he will not order a curfew for his city. He also addressed a video that appeared to show an NYPD vehicle knocking over protesters. He promised an investigation into it. But the mayor had strong words for those who attack police officers.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY, NY: The NYPD all day long has been working hard. It's been a very, very difficult day for our officers. Some of them have been put into very dangerous situations. That's not appropriate. That's not the protest reality and history that we believe in, in this city.

We believe in peaceful protests, we believe in civil disobedience, we believe in people exercising their democratic rights but not attacking police officers, not attacking communities.


ALLEN: At least 120 arrests were made across New York City Saturday, that includes three men facing federal charges for throwing Molotov cocktails and at least 13 police officers were injured. Most demonstrators, we want to say, were peaceful. But some took a destructive turn. For more on that, here is Shimon Prokupecz.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: This is some of the aftermath we're seeing from the day of protests here in Manhattan. From Times Square, now in Union Square, where protesters took to the streets.

It was mostly a peaceful day. There was pockets of violence, certainly violence like this. There was vandalism, windows broken from banks, graffiti spray painted along Fifth Avenue. But for the most part there were nonviolent protests.

People who police allowed to march on the streets and on the sidewalks and chanting and getting together.

But there would be points where it would devolve into violence, into people attacking the police, throwing bottles at the police and then police having to move in and arrest them.

And then scenes like this. Several police vans, police vehicles burned across Manhattan. There were at least three others that we saw, which were either vandalized or burned. Police here out through the night.


PROKUPECZ: And we'll see, you know, as the days go on, how protesters take to the streets and how they handle things going forward -- Shimon Prokupecz, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: Let's talk about that challenge in New York and across the country. Police are faced with the challenge of the right to protest and public safety. Joining me now is Darrin Porcher, a criminal justice professor and a retired lieutenant with the New York Police Department.

Good morning to you.

DARRIN PORCHER, RETIRED NYPD: Good morning to you, too.

ALLEN: I want to talk about what we're seeing from L.A. to New York City, people are enraged. Some people are trying to -- most people -- to protest peacefully but they're being overshadowed by violence and looting.

What's your reaction?

PORCHER: Generally when you have these types of protests, you have the two factions, people protesting based on constitutional rights and then you have the anarchists. When you have a fusion of the two groups, oftentimes it's the anarchists that elevate to the point of destroying property, creating violence and an overall sense of lawlessness.

So it's imperative upon the police departments that are dealing with and managing these types of disturbances that the level of violence is brought to a sheer minimum. And the moratorium on violence in connection with these riots is something that police departments are struggling to get their hands around as a result.

ALLEN: Right, because you see police with their batons in their hands, their masks, pushing back on people. We've seen confrontations with the police.

We had CNN's Keith Boykin, who is black, arrested in New York City, who was just taking photos and he was arrested and kept for six hours and never charged. It goes to show you how someone can come out and be a bystander and, all of a sudden, they're swept up by police. That seems to be adding to the friction we already have on the streets.

PORCHER: That's correct. This is somewhat a reflection of what we saw a few days ago in Minneapolis, when a CNN reporter was taken into custody briefly and subsequently released.

You also have to understand it from the perspective of the police officers. In many cases, you have lawless rioters on the ground, committing to horrific acts and police may not be able to determine or assess who the violators are in these particular cases.

In no way, shape or form am I condoning taking someone into custody when you don't have probable cause to make an arrest. However, it represents -- or I should say it presents a somewhat crazy situation, so to speak, for the boots on the ground.

You also have to take into consideration the people that live in these neighborhoods where this riotous behavior is occurring. They're under siege. These are the first people looking to address or request police services as a result of this riotous behavior.

What we need to do, we need to have a back channel of negotiations between police, community leaders and elected officials, so we can come to some level of calm and we can introduce a solution to the population. If not, this riotous behavior will continue, which is resulting as a loss for us as a society and as a whole.

ALLEN: Absolutely, all the while during a pandemic. I want to talk to you and show our viewers something that -- well, this is New York. I want to call up something that happened in Michigan. The sheriff of Flint Township, that's him in Michigan, took off his helmet, put down his baton and walked with protesters.

It was a wonderful scene of togetherness and healing. They cheered for him. He cheered for them. That was an approach he took and it worked. It goes with what you're saying. We have to look at what's next.

How do we get past this dangerous point.

PORCHER: You're right. I tip my hat to that law enforcement official showing that he's also not just a public servant but also part of the community.

One thing I want to mention, based on my experiences of being a lieutenant in the NYPD, police are fine with protesters that come in and protest peacefully. You have a small component of agitators that are exasperated and creating a combustible situation on the ground. Those agitators are gaining universal focus.


PORCHER: So as we move forward, we need to understand that we do have the COVID-19 pandemic still in effect. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we're losing valuable resources that are necessary for us as a society. Therefore we need to coalesce behind a solution that can put us in a better place so that we can fight the greater enemy, which is the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALLEN: Absolutely. Hopefully the National Guard, the curfews will help defuse some of the violence. People have a right to protest and have reason to be enraged. Darrin Porcher, thank you for your expertise and thank you for joining us.

PORCHER: Thanks, stay safe.

ALLEN: You, too. We were talking about it, protesting during a pandemic. Ahead here,

the mass demonstrations across the U.S. are raising new concerns about the coronavirus. Hear why one governor says the two are deeply connected. That's next.





ALLEN: Mass protests across the U.S. have raised new concerns about the possibility of the coronavirus spreading further, especially as states move towards reopening. The governor of New York says the root problem that needs to be addressed is inequality. Here he is.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): If you look across this nation, proportionately, many more people of color died from the COVID virus than white people. That is a fact.

There's a slight disparity in New York state, nothing like what it is in other states and we're proud of that. But there is a disparity. And there is an inequality, especially across this country. That has to be addressed. That has to be addressed.

It came to light, it was exposed because of this situation. But it was there. And it has to be addressed. And there is a larger context for this conversation today, right. For 90 days we were just dealing with the COVID crisis.

On the 91st day, we have the COVID crisis and we have the situation in Minneapolis, with the racial unrest around the George Floyd death. Those are not disconnected situations. One looks like a public health system issue, COVID.

But it's getting at the inequality and health care also on a deeper level. Then the George Floyd situation, which gets at the inequality and discrimination in the criminal justice system, they are connected.


ALLEN: The governor of New York.

The World Health Organization has new guidance for mass gatherings during the COVID pandemic. Once restrictions are eased, proposed changes include these: holding large events virtually or outdoors, limiting attendance to healthy people and staggering arrivals.

The WHO says the changes could help limit the spread of the virus and it says the benefits of large events include providing jobs and improving people's feelings of well-being. In New York City it was once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic

with some 200,000 cases. While other parts of the state already have begun to reopen, the city is now poised to do that in just over a week. Polo Sandoval shows us how different places in America are reopening at their own pace.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's amazing. It feels great but it's also -- it's weird.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The new normal, as cities across the country start to reopen in different phases. In Pennsylvania, 17 counties moved into the green phase of reopening Friday. That's the phase with the fewest restrictions in that state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Plastic ware, plastic cups. Takeout is really going to be -- containers are going to be used as much as they can just to limit touching things other people have touched.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): The entire state of Illinois now in phase 3 of its reopening plan except for Chicago, which will begin reopening on June 3rd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

SANDOVAL (voice-over): The owner of this barbershop says he's booked solid with customers but he's still taking precautions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can't come in without an appointment, can't come in without a mask, can't wait in here unless it's absolutely necessary.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Washington, D.C.'s, phase 1 reopening plan kicked in on Friday, allowing barbershops and salons to reopen by appointment only and restaurants to resume outdoor dining with some rules.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You must wear a mask, obviously not while you're eating or drinking but while you're approaching or if you enter the restaurant to use the restroom or any of those things. While you can wear a mask, you should wear a mask.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Parts of New York, once the epicenter of the outbreak, now entering phase two of its reopening plan, something governor Andrew Cuomo says has to be done the right way.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): You have to be smart. And we've seen what has happened painfully when cities and states and countries reopen too quickly. They wound up closing again, which is the worst situation. So be smart.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): New York City also moving ahead with reopening plans, set to enter phase 1 on June 8th. Mayor Bill de Blasio says facial coverings will be a necessity for employees and customers.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY, NY: Everyone understands that for business to work, people have to get into some kind of proximity. We need those face coverings.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): And those precautions are needed as more states move to reopen. New CDC modeling suggesting COVID-19 could kill around 20,000 more Americans in just the next three weeks.

California and Washington State, two of the states that saw the first cases, are now seeing cases climb. California governor Gavin Newsom is saying that's partly due to the fact they are now testing so many more people.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): What is so important, as we test exponentially more, 20, 30 fold more than we were just eight weeks ago, you're going to have more positive tests.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): And as the U.S. this week reached a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths, President Trump now making good on a threat he's made many times throughout the pandemic, severing U.S. ties with the World Health Organization.

TRUMP: We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent, global public health needs.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): The president claiming the WHO was pressured by China to mislead the world when it came to their reporting of information about the virus -- Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: A fifth night of demonstrations rocks the United States, as Americans protest the death of George Floyd. The latest headlines coming next, plus reports from Atlanta, Miami and Philadelphia right after this.




ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

More than one dozen U.S. states have called up the National Guard after days of violent protests, arson and looting. That includes Washington, D.C. Troops there will assist with security near the White House because of large groups of vocal protesters gathering nearby.

While much of the demonstrations have been peaceful, others have not. Many businesses in numerous cities have been looted and burned.


ALLEN: Criminal acts that other protesters have denounced. They say it undermines their demands for justice after George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis.

The governor of Georgia signed an executive order activating 3,000 troops ahead of several protests planned for Sunday. Police arrested 51 people during protests Saturday. A patrol vehicle was damaged and windows were broken out at a downtown police station. CNN's Martin Savidge has the latest from Atlanta.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the damage that was done to CNN Center on Friday. By Saturday night, the building had been pretty much spared but the city of Atlanta wasn't.

It was still another night of tension, tear gas and protests. One of the most serious events, though, is when a police officer (INAUDIBLE) ATV, that kind of four-wheel motorcycle. Police officer's condition is unknown.

But the person driving the ATV has been taken into custody. It was a very different atmosphere here tonight, mainly because of two things. You had a curfew that went into effect in the city of Atlanta at 9:00 pm. And you had a much heavier and much stronger police presence.

Take a look, this is still what is left over from that presence tonight. You had not just police officers but officers that came in from surrounding counties and areas. And then on top of that, of course, you had the Georgia National Guard that was here as well.

There have been at least 50 arrests made tonight. The most serious moment came when that curfew went into effect at 9 o'clock. Police, with a strong show of force, firing tear gas, pushing away a smaller crowd of protesters and eventually it turned into skirmishes throughout the city throughout the evening.

That curfew remains in effect until daylight. Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been declared throughout all of Georgia by the governor. Many are wondering what Sunday will bring -- Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.


ALLEN: In Philadelphia, firefighters worked to put out fires and police officers chased protesters for violating curfew there. Dozens were arrested and some Philadelphia police officers were injured. Brian Todd has more.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the scene in downtown Philadelphia tonight, Walnut and 17th Streets in downtown Philly, the Center City area of the city, a scene of absolute carnage on Saturday afternoon and evening.

Widespread looting in this area of Center City. Stores, other facilities and other businesses broken into, looted, burned. Firefighters here battling a three-alarm fire in this building right here.

You can see some of the water being deployed. There's a hose right there, going into this building. Actually, these three buildings seem to have caught fire. This is a three-alarm fire that required about 120 firefighters to respond to (INAUDIBLE). But this is emblematic of the situation that unfolded all afternoon and evening in Philadelphia.

We are told that more than 3 dozen people have been arrested. That number will certainly go up. More than a dozen law enforcement officers have been injured, a few of them with chemical burns to the face.

Law enforcement was really up against it in Philadelphia earlier and they responded forcefully. They had a curfew in effect until about 6:00 am Sunday morning. There will be another curfew in effect from Sunday evening from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am Eastern time.

Philadelphia police determined to get their arms around this because the scenes earlier today were of absolute carnage, burning, looting, fires, arrests, injuries and it's not over yet. Philadelphia still a very, very tense scene here in the Center City area of Philadelphia -- Brian Todd, CNN, Philadelphia.


ALLEN: In Miami-Dade County, people were told to stay off the streets as of 10:00 pm or risk being arrested. Rosa Flores reports on the outpouring of pain and anger in South Florida.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm in downtown Miami, where protests have been going on for hours. Take a look behind me. Protesters are taking a knee, which is what we've been seeing all around the country.

At different times throughout the evening, there have been clashes with police. At one time, both the northbound and the southbound lanes of I-95 were closed in downtown Miami because protesters overtook the highway.

At one point we know that at least two vehicles went up in flames. That, of course, prompted the fire department to rush to those areas to put the fire out.


FLORES: But again, very tense moments here in Miami, as protests continue for hours.

The officials in this city and the county have issued a curfew that is mandatory and so we're going to wait and see what happens with these protesters, because the curfew hours have already started -- Rosa Flores, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ALLEN: California senator and former presidential hopeful Kamala Harris spoke with Don Lemon about these protests that are occurring all over the country. She laid out what needs to change to make sure what happened to George Floyd and so many others never happens again. Here are her thoughts.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): We romanticize in so many ways about who Dr. King was and his nonviolent protests. But the reality is that he was fighting for the same things that the protesters today are fighting for, that is equal justice under the law.

That has to be acknowledged. The pain and the injustice has to be acknowledged. And so that is how I think about this moment.

And of course, I will never condone vandalism and violence in these protests. But you need to recognize and appreciate the fact that people have a right to feel pain and to feel anger about the fact that this is still happening this many years later.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Here's the question though. The question that everyone wants the answer to. We do not know what it is. Perhaps you as a legislator can -- can tell us.

What happens now?

What is the solution?


LEMON: How do we fix this because this is, as we know, the third rail -- race is the third rail to the American society.

How do we fix this?

HARRIS: First of all, we have to have all people, regardless of race and gender. I was out there at the protests today in D.C., in front of the White House. And there were people of every gender, every race, unified in understanding the significance of this and the importance of fighting for the ideals of our country.

That should include making real equal justice under the law.

So how do we do that on the issue of excessive force?

First of all, I have said this before, bad cops need to go to jail. Bad cops are bad for good cops.

So what do we need to do to bring more integrity in the criminal justice system?

We need to have more independent investigation. I strongly believe it should not be DA's offices that work with those police departments that are doing the investigations of police misconduct. We need to have the United States Department of Justice reinvoke what,

under the Obama administration, was happening around investigations of pattern and practice, of discrimination, which had basically been canceled under Donald Trump's administration.

We need to have a system where we are enforcing consent decrees, where there has been a finding of misconduct by a police department and a court oversees what should be the reforms.

These are the specific things that need to happen.


ALLEN: A new CNN special examines race relations and police brutality in America. It's called "I Can't Breathe: Black Men Living and Dying in America," tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern for viewers in New York, 8:00 am in Hong Kong.

The United Kingdom is easing some of its lockdown measures in the coming days but some of the government's own advisers warn not to reopen prematurely. We'll take you to London for the latest guidelines -- next.

Also, this orchestra from Bolivia has been stuck in Germany for months due to the pandemic. But wild stories about castles, wolves and even ghosts made theirs a truly viral tale. We'll have that for you coming up.





ALLEN: People in England who are extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus will be allowed to go outside beginning Monday after 10 weeks of being urged to stay inside. This comes as scientific advisers to the government warn that a premature easing of the lockdown could lead to a significant number of new cases and deaths.

CNN's Hadas Gold is in London with more on these developments.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More than 2 million people deemed as extremely vulnerable, people with pre-existing health conditions, were told at the beginning of lockdown in March not to leave their houses for any reason.

Now starting on Monday they will be allowed to leave their houses. This is coming as further lockdown restrictions are being slowly lifted starting Monday. Certain grades will be allowed to go back to school. Outdoor food markets will be open, car showrooms as well.

A few weeks later the government said nonessential shops will be allowed to open if they follow social distancing guidelines. Although the government is starting to lift lockdown restrictions, and I've seen more and more people going out and meeting with friends in parks as they're allowed to do so, some of the government's own scientific advisers are warning they're not comfortable still with the incidence rates, the number of infections seen daily.

The government warning, as we have higher incidence rates, we will have higher death rates. But this is a balance of letting the economy get started again, letting people get back to slightly more normal lives and trying to balance the infection rates.

This is an interesting push and pull we're seeing between the scientific advisers and between the politicians here.

Another thing opening up here is professional sports. They're now allowed to start playing games behind closed doors. Each league is told to work with government officials and health officials to develop their own system of how this will work.

These will start to air live on TV, especially the Premier League, which is the soccer league in the United Kingdom. And it will be aired on the BBC free for everyone to watch. Clearly the government thinks this will be a huge morale boost for this country after so many weeks of intense lockdown.

ALLEN: Absolutely. People miss their sports. Thank you so much.


ALLEN: The U.S. president says he is postponing the G7 summit until at least September. It was to be held in June. Plus he wants to invite other countries, such as Russia, Australia, India and South Korea.

The White House says Mr. Trump wants to bring together traditional allies as well as other countries impacted by the coronavirus. He told reporters Saturday the current group of G7 countries was in his words, outdated.

A Bolivian orchestra stuck in Germany during the coronavirus pandemic may soon be on their way home. They have been stranded for nearly three months, unable to return back to loved ones after Bolivia closed its borders. But the stories of their confinement are taking on a life of their own. Rafael Romo has our story.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): The headlines are right out of the pages of a mystery novel. An orchestra trapped in a castle, haunted by ghosts and surrounded by wolves.

But this is no mystery novel. It's the real life story of a Bolivian orchestra stranded in Germany for about 80 days. They came here to play a series of concerts. And as coronavirus became a global pandemic, Bolivia closed its borders. And they've been here in this town since.

So what about the story of being trapped in the castle? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It has to be made clear that we live here in this building, which is part of the music academy, with the residence and auditorium and so on. The castle is over there and it's a museum, where no one lives.

ROMO (voice-over): So the group of young Bolivians has lived at the music academy for three months, waiting for a time when they could return to their families and friends. In the interim, they have spent their time rehearsing and getting to know the town and the surrounding areas and surviving, through the kindness of the people here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People of the orchestra manage a lot of things. And thanks to our German friends, manage to have a good time despite everything. So they went to the woods, a lot of lakes, they visited the city.

ROMO: What about the story of being surrounded by a pack of wolves?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once we got to Bolivia, we will make, of course, a proper post in our social networks, trying to clarify that we were not in a castle, that we weren't surrounded by wolves and, yes, of course, giving thanks to pretty much everybody. We met a lot of kind people.

ROMO (voice-over): Members of the orchestra may soon get a chance to return home. Bolivia has eased restrictions and international flights may resume next Monday, June 1st. In the meantime, the orchestra continues to spend their time rehearsing and wishing for that reunion with family members and friends back home -- Rafael Romo, CNN.


ALLEN: Next here, after a week of turmoil, the United States makes history in an inspiring way by looking to the heavens.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Zero. Ignition. Liftoff. The Falcon Nine and Crew Dragon, go NASA, go SpaceX. Godspeed, Bob and Doug.


ALLEN: Beautiful sight there. America's long outer space drought ended when SpaceX's Falcon Nine rocket soared into orbit on Saturday. It launched two astronauts on their way to the International Space Station.

This is the first time since the shuttle program ended nine years ago that an American spacecraft has sent astronauts, U.S. astronauts, into space from U.S. soil. Quite a feat there.

President Trump is praising the launch, saying the U.S. has regained its position as the world leader in space. He and the vice president watched the spectacular liftoff in Florida. CNN's Boris Sanchez reports Mr. Trump also denounced the protests consuming the country while there.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump delivering remarks after that historic launch of the SpaceX mission. The president talking about the launch as a point of unity and pride for Americans but starting out talking about the violence that we're seeing in Minneapolis and many other cities throughout the country.

President Trump expressing condolences to the family of George Floyd, saying his death is a tragedy, before taking aim at violent protesters, saying there are people out there looking to exploit this tragedy for their own personal gain. President Trump saying that he will not allow anarchy within the United States.


TRUMP: What we are now seeing on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with justice or with peace. The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists, we must not allow a small group of criminal and vandals wreck our cities and lay waste to our communities. My administration will stop mob violence and we'll stop it cold.


SANCHEZ: He clearly is trying to counter program some of the devastation we've seen not only because of some recent unrest in American cities but because of coronavirus.


SANCHEZ: The president is eager to show the United States is ready to transition to greatness, the president's words, and away from the epidemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans. The president in Florida trying to attach his image to a historic event and distract eyes from chaos that has engulfed the country -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the president, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.


ALLEN: Pro basketball player Jalen Brown is making his voice heard during the unrest. He said he drove 15 hours from Boston, where he plays for the Celtics, to lead a peaceful protest here in Atlanta on Saturday.

He and other demonstrators marched from a memorial site for Martin Luther King Jr. And he explained why he wanted to be involved.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JALEN BROWN, BOSTON CELTICS: Being a celebrity, being an NBA player doesn't exclude me from no conversations at all. First and foremost, I'm a black man and I'm a member of this community. And I grew up on this soil.

So I want to say first and foremost it's a peaceful protest. We walk (ph) and that's it. Raising awareness for some of the injustices that we've been seeing. It's not OK. As a young person, you have to listen to our perspective. Our voices need to be heard.


ALLEN: Thank you watching this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. "EARLY START" is next.