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CNN NEWSROOM

Huge Protests across America against Brutality, for Equality; Tens of Thousands Protest Peacefully in D.C.; Black Lives Matter Supporters Gathering around the Globe; George Floyd Remembered near North Carolina Birthplace; Black Sheriff to Police: "We Are Part of the Problem"; Thousands in Los Angeles Protest Peacefully; Protests Increase Fears of Coronavirus Spread; Louisiana Issues Storm Evacuation Orders for Several Parishes; Viral Moment from Houston Protest Friday Night. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired June 7, 2020 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes.

Now with prayer and with protest, thousands of people across America remembering George Floyd nearly two weeks after his death in police custody. Right now an outpouring of determination to end police brutality, especially against African Americans.

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HOLMES (voice-over): What you're looking at there is New York's Union Square.

First in North Carolina and an outpouring of grief and hope.

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HOLMES (voice-over): A memorial service held Saturday near the town where Floyd was born. Speakers vowing his death would not be in vain.

JEREMY COLLINS, NORTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR SPOKESPERSON: I want to remind each one of you that some death ain't about dying. Some death is about waking all of us up.

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M. HOLMES: Floyd's death sparked these protests now in their 12th night. What we did not see on Saturday, the level of violence and looting we saw last weekend. Saturday's protests, pretty much all of them, peaceful. Let's take a look at Los Angeles several hours ago.

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HOLMES (voice-over): People marching there through a tunnel downtown. Cars honking their horns in unity.

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HOLMES (voice-over): We also didn't see as many police in many cities. Here's the mayor of Washington joining the march there. There were concerns, of course, about coronavirus spreading in these crowds and one protest organizer told us she will take that risk to stand up for her beliefs.

PHILOMENA WANKENGE, CO-FOUNDER, FREEDOM FIGHTERS DC: If you're not willing to risk your life for this, then you shouldn't be out here because, at the end of the day, I don't care if I lose my life if that means my nieces and my nephews won't have to deal with someone invalidating them because of the color of their skin.

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M. HOLMES: Now in just a moment, we'll take a look at what's happening in Washington, D.C.

But we begin with Bill Weir, who had a chance to speak with a protest organizer as demonstrators marched through the streets of New York.

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BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: You're defying curfew.

Are you afraid of more arrests, the way we've seen in recent days?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, we're a peaceful protest. There's no reason that we should be arrested for being outside peacefully. You see no looting. You see no rioting. We are OK to be out here.

The fact that they would give us a curfew at 8:00 pm, they're trying to control us. They don't have that right to control us. If we want to speak or if we want to march, we don't have to be silent. We don't have to listen to what they're saying.

If you're listening and watching right now, I want you to realize, wherever you are right now, you have a voice. You can speak up. Black Lives Matter. You do not have to let white supremacy rule anymore.

WEIR: Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this. The four commanding officers who were reassigned as punishment for pushing protesters, spraying protesters, the two Buffalo cops, who were charged with second-degree assault for pushing the 75-year old, the governor calling for police reform --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's only happening because of us. WEIR: You're taking credit for that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's only happening because of us. If there was not this type of disturbance, that would not happen at all.

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ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): These were the largest protests in Washington, D.C., since the death of George Floyd. Tens of thousands of people pouring into the streets of the nation's capital on Saturday. Many of them gathering right here on the newly commissioned Black Lives Matter Plaza.

So named by the mayor of D.C., who also had that huge mural, those yellow letters, painted over two city blocks on 16th Street, which runs right into Lafayette Park by the White House.

Protesters on Saturday adding the words "Defund the police," an indication they believe that the mayor has not gone far enough when it comes to police reform. But for the most part, many of the chants, much of the anger directed right there at the White House, at president Donald Trump.

You can see that fence there, which is as close as protesters can get to the White House, with a huge black banner, again, reading, Black Lives Matter.

President Trump today tweeting, Law and order."

But when it comes to law enforcement, not much of it was visible today, a testament to the fact that they felt that these protests would be peaceful. And they were almost entirely peaceful today, as they have been for the past few days.

Reflecting that, there is no curfew tonight. And you can see people are taking advantage of that, remaining out in the streets late.

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MARQUARDT: Now the mayor of D.C. has demanded in a letter to President Trump that all what she called extraordinary federal and military officers be removed from D.C. because these protests have been quite peaceful.

And the commanding general for the D.C. National Guard spoke with CNN earlier, telling us that most of the National Guard who have arrived in D.C., some 4,000 of those who have come from out of state, could start leaving as soon as Monday.

As for what these protesters have planned next, many I spoke with today said they will continue protesting until they see significant change -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) M. HOLMES: It was also a day to reflect on George Floyd, the man, and on the movement that his death started.

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HOLMES (voice-over): Loved ones, strangers and local leaders all coming together for a memorial service for Floyd. CNN's Dianne Gallagher has more now from North Carolina.

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DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The second of the three memorials set for George Floyd was a much smaller affair. Organizers called it intimate, a way to make sure that his family was able to say goodbye.

George Floyd was born about 20 minutes from here in Fayetteville, North Carolina. They held a service in Raeford, where his sister, Bridgett, still lives. The family coming together, all dressed in white, during the service alternating between cheers and dancing and tears and hugging during this memorial service.

As speakers talked about George when he was young, personality traits and also how he died and for some, what they believed that his death could become the catalyst for, change in the United States.

Now before this private memorial service, there was a public viewing that allowed people here in North Carolina to pay their respects to George Floyd with the proper conditions.

The sheriff had people wearing masks and social distancing inside, not spending too much time there. This has been something that people in the area say they are affected by, they wanted to be here in person and see George Floyd.

People in the state of Texas will get their opportunity to do so on Monday and Tuesday, when a public viewing and private service and then burial for George Floyd's family will take place -- Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Raeford, North Carolina.

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M. HOLMES: Now George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, he is set to testify before Congress on Wednesday. House Judiciary Committee Democrats invited him to speak. He will be appearing at a hearing on policing practices and law enforcement accountability.

Following the death of his brother, he says he spoke with President Trump and the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. He says Biden talked to him, quote, "constantly," while his talk with Mr. Trump was brief and he said the president didn't give him an opportunity to speak. People the world over are gathering to protest police brutality in

their own countries as well as marking the killing of George Floyd. International diplomatic editor Nic Robertson reports.

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PROTESTERS: No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): The calls are getting louder, the voices more numerous. London is leaning into America's pain and demanding an end to its own.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel that what happened in the U.S. was just -- it was the spark that sparked everywhere. And it happens here. I've experienced it.

ROBERTSON: Racism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, definitely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you see that happening across the world, you feel a part of yourself die and everyone out here right now has felt that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I personally know more about the U.S. and issues there but it's definitely an issue here. And I think we all need to be here together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a worldwide issue, no matter where you are. It's an issue everywhere. We all need to rise up.

ROBERTSON: What is clear, by the day, these protests are gathering global momentum, spreading so far around the world the sun never sets on someone demanding justice for George Floyd, asking us to understand Black Lives Matter and calling for change.

PROTESTERS: Black Lives Matter.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, right across Australia Saturday, the ripples of anger at George Floyd's killing have turned to waves of protests, demanding better rights for aboriginals.

In Northern France, crowds joined the global outrage; indeed, point to a place on the planet and they'll have had protests.

Japan, South Korea, Kenya, South Africa, Lebanon, Canada, where PM Justin Trudeau took a knee, all of these just in the past 48 hours.

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ROBERTSON (voice-over): Everywhere there is hope the swell of support will amount to change finally.

PATRICK BAYELE, LONDON PROTEST ORGANIZER: I've awoken a part of me which has been begging to be released for years and years. And this year, 2020, there's something in the air about 2020. I think it's a culmination of many different variables, Trumpian anxiety, coronavirus, George Floyd, Belly Mujinga.

And so to be here, it feels like I should have been here -- I should have been here from day one.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Every indication here, still plenty more protests to come -- Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

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M. HOLMES: People in Berlin also protesting racism and police violence, this time through silent demonstration, one of them taking part in the heart of the city.

Police asked that they maintain social distancing because of the pandemic. Demonstrators said they wanted to remember George Floyd in silence and by wearing black clothing. Some of them sharing other reasons they wanted to be there. Have a listen.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I am here because there is a racism problem in Germany. That's so in the whole world but especially here in Germany. If you are black, brown or just not white in Germany, then you experience racism. That is quite normal, almost every day.

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M. HOLMES: There have been calls for silent demonstrations in other German cities as well.

We're going to take a short break. When we come back on the program, founding members of Freedom Fighters DC, part of the largest protest in Washington you saw today, will join us live to reflect on the march and what they saw. We'll be right back.

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M. HOLMES: From America's biggest cities to its small towns, protesters keeping up the push for racial equality and against police brutality. This is the 12th night of demonstrations sparked by the death of an African American man, George Floyd, in police custody.

Protesters stayed on the streets of the nation's capital into the night.

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HOLMES (voice-over): Earlier, they marched toward the White House. Saturday's protest exclusively peaceful really.

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M. HOLMES: Now I'm joined for more on that from Washington by Jacqueline LaBayne and Philomena Wankenge, both founding members of Freedom Fighters DC.

I'm told you literally just walked back into the house from the protest. It was a massive, it was a peaceful protest in D.C. and, in many places around the country, it was interesting, there was a lower police presence.

Tell me, what was it like being there and where does it go from here?

JACQUELINE LABAYNE, CO-FOUNDER, FREEDOM FIGHTERS DC: So it was honestly invigorating being out there with so many people, so many like-minded people with the same goal in mind.

So many people of such diverse backgrounds, different races, genders, sexual orientation, religions, all coming together to fight for our black brothers and sisters. And it was honestly incredible to see how much support we got.

M. HOLMES: Yes. It was absolutely incredible, the size of it. And the peacefulness, too.

Philomena, the second part of that question, where do you see the movement and where do you see it going now?

WANKENGE: So for us, we have a list of demands that we would like to see implemented. And for us, we're not going to stop until those demands are -- my voice is hoarse because I've been leading the protests and I've been very active today. So that's why my voice sounds like it does.

So anyone that hears it, that's what the case is. But one of our major themes and our next step is defunding the police department. Our biggest theme that we feel like is that the government tries to use propaganda tactics to get us to be silenced and oftentimes they're used to the cycle of someone is murdered, we protest, outrage and then we go back to our regular lives.

The difference between those movements and this movement, not that they were invalid or any less important, is the fact that we are going to keep protesting.

And we feel a bit disrespected by like the mayor of D.C. for naming the Black Lives Matter Plaza although we understand the intent of it. That's not what we asked for. We asked for defunding of the police.

What we asked for was stopping (INAUDIBLE) the types of things that we want implemented. We don't want some propaganda tactics that are supposed to satisfy us.

M. HOLMES: And that's the thing. You don't want this to be just another protest after another death and everyone goes away until the next death.

It is interesting. I was reading, there's a 2014 poll after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. And 43 percent said the killings were the sign of a broader problem, 43 percent. That same poll was done again today. It is 74 percent. And I've heard a lot of people say this time finally, this time feels different.

Do you agree?

And if so, why?

LABAYNE: It definitely feels different. And I feel like a big part of the difference is the youth that are involved. Our organization, Freedom Fighters DC, is mostly led by youth. We're all, a majority of us are under 30 years old.

This is our first time -- a lot of first-time protesters, first-time donations. We have a lot of emails saying, you know, this is the first time I'm ever getting involved, what do I do?

Because we feel like America has reached the top of the iceberg (sic) and it's finally -- enough is enough. And we need to see change now. And I feel like a lot of America feels the same way.

M. HOLMES: Do you agree, Philomena?

WANKENGE: I do. I personally think that this isn't going to stop. And I think that the government got comfortable in their systemic oppression and that they play just a large role as police officers in enabling them and giving them that power.

And I think that they're finally understanding that we're not going to stop. People often forget that the Civil Rights Act was not invoked until six days of protesting, $147 million worth of damage.

It seems to be that there's a correlation between breaking down capitalism and freedom. And it's sad and I think that's another conversation for another time, how capitalism plays a large role in dismantling minorities.

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WANKENGE: And that's a conversation for another time. But we understand it. And because we understand it as the youth, we understand how money plays a role into it and that a lot of the times, even the people representing us are in different socioeconomic backgrounds than we are.

And we want to challenge that. We want to make them uncomfortable. And we are fortunate enough that this time in a pandemic where people cannot run from the things that we are dealing with. They cannot turn on their televisions and go and say whatever they want to say.

The biggest thing I want people to understand is you cannot go back to your regular lives just because we protested for a few days and pretend that this is over. This is only the beginning. And it may be exhausting physically and mentally and emotionally. Even

for me, I've cried many times and I've sat with myself because we have to understand that even though we may not be able to live through seeing the change that our actions are implementing, we have to continue to fight and understand that this is so much bigger than us.

M. HOLMES: I wanted to ask you, too, there's been a lot of -- and you can say justifiable criticism of the actions of many police. I've been following some feeds on Twitter that are frankly horrifying, a lot of violence.

There seems, though, to be a lot of people willing to put themselves at risk. Speak to the mindset of people protesting in terms of their safety, Jacqueline.

LABAYNE: Absolutely. So what we're seeing right now is a lot of allies putting themselves in the front lines of these protests because we know that there's a problem in the fact that police aren't going to touch white people. And that in itself is a huge problem.

The fact that white people have the privilege to stand and protest and not be bothered but when black Americans do it, they are bothered and they are tear gassed, they are pepper sprayed. That is a problem in itself.

And the fact that we are seeing allies, that's great. It's great that people are getting involved. But this is more than a PR statement. This is more than a retweet. This is more than a post on Instagram. We are no longer allies. We need to be accomplices.

It's not -- you know, it's not only protesting. It's what happens in boardrooms, what happens in city councils, what happens in the legislative process, where white people are in power and not doing anything.

We're tired of only seeing black people fight for black people. It needs to be all people fighting for black people because those are the people being oppressed by our systems and we need to dismantle the systems in order to change that.

M. HOLMES: And to that point, in many ways, I'll broaden it out. Probably while you were heading home, we were reporting on the global pouring onto the streets. In so many countries, people have come out with their own complaints about, you know, deaths in custody in their own countries but sparked by George Floyd, sparked by what you guys are doing.

Do you take heart from that?

WANKENGE: For me, I do, because I was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So the effects of colonialism, the effects of taking advantage of the minorities, hit me very hard.

And, for me, America was supposed to be a safe space. It wasn't (INAUDIBLE). I'm a refugee. That's what it was supposed to be. It was supposed to be a refuge. You come to this place and you see the disconnect and you see the effects of colonialism and the disconnect of black lives and black lives actually understanding they matter because we've been taught for so long that we don't.

And so, for me, it is very personal. It's much deeper than anyone could ever understand. And that's why sometimes I cry, sometimes I get emotional, sometimes I even feel angry to the point where I don't know what to do with all this anger.

But what I do understand is I channel it, I use it to motivate me. And that's why I always ask every individual and I always state, I cannot tell a black person how to express their anger. But what I can ask is, in whichever way you express your anger, make sure that it fulfills our purpose and moves our purpose onward, because we have such a bigger cause than to feed into our emotions.

M. HOLMES: Eloquently put. I've been to the DRC, too. It's a fascinating country and a beautiful one. So I appreciate you sharing your stories. We've got to leave it there. Jacqueline LaBayne and Philomena Wankenge, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time. And you'll be out there again tomorrow.

LABAYNE: Yes. Thank you so much. We really appreciate the opportunity to spread our message.

WANKENGE: Thank you.

M. HOLMES: All right. Thank you very much.

All right. We're going to take a quick break now. When we come back on CNN NEWSROOM, mourners say George Floyd did not die in vain. We'll have more on his memorial service and on the protests reverberating across America and beyond. We'll be right back.

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

M. HOLMES: And welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes.

We are keeping an eye on protests that continue in the U.S. this hour. Saturday, the 12th day of demonstrations sparked by the death of an African American man, George Floyd, in police custody. We may have seen the largest protests to date, by and large peaceful.

And by many accounts they had a more positive energy than they did this time last week, when we did see some looting and clashes with police.

Also on Saturday, the second of three memorial services was held for George Floyd. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES (voice-over): This one was near the town where he was born in North Carolina and there were calls for change.

SHERIFF HUBERT PETERKIN, HOKE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: Enough. Don't let the life of George Floyd be in vain. It has become a sacrifice. We are part of the problem.

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M. HOLMES: Meanwhile, in Washington, the mayor called on President Trump to remove the National Guard and other forces that he brought into town. Have a listen.

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MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER (D-DC): We should all be watching this happening in Washington, D.C., because we don't want our federal government to do this to any other Americans.

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M. HOLMES: Now a county sheriff who spoke at the memorial service near George Floyd's North Carolina birthplace had a message for law enforcement. He said this, quote, "We are part of the problem."

He also talked about the pressures of policing as a black man in America. Here's some of his message.

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PETERKIN: I dreamed about being a law enforcement officer ever since I was 10 years old. But that dream is now turning into a nightmare.

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PETERKIN: You see, I found out, I realized that if I deny all the wrong that law enforcement is doing today, I am denying the color of my skin.

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PETERKIN: And I won't do that. I am a black man first, then law enforcement. You see, one thing that people got, as a black officer, when our community looks at us, they look in two different directions. They look and they say, OK.

They don't trust us because we're officers now. The fear is real in the black community. Let's be real about it. The fear is real. They don't trust the black officer because we're officers. But then they question our blackness.

They ask us, hey, how can you be a part of something with all of this going on?

Can you see?

Are you blind?

Can you see what's going on?

I'm going to keep it real. If there was four brothers that threw a police officer on the ground --

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PETERKIN: -- and put -- one of them put their knee in his neck, that officer's neck, and killed him under video while the other three stood around and flexed, there would have been a national manhunt for all four of them.

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PETERKIN: There would have been a national manhunt for all four of them and they would have been arrested and charged with murder immediately.

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M. HOLMES: More public and private memorial services are planned for George Floyd in Houston, Texas, early in the week.

Now the U.S. attorney general pushing back on reports he gave the order to clear those peaceful protesters outside the White House last week.

Law enforcement, you may remember, moved in with tear gas, rubber bullets, all so President Trump could walk over to St. John's Episcopal Church and pose with a Bible for a photo op. The White House said it was Barr's decision to clear the area. But Barr's saying, that's not entirely accurate. CNN's Kristen Holmes with more.

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KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's a reason Barr has to push back on that and that is because the White House put this squarely on the attorney general.

A senior administration official said that President Trump didn't even know there was a plan to empty out the streets, that it was entirely Barr's decision.

Now as you said, there is some pushback on that notion. In this interview, the attorney general saying that he didn't give the final word. I want to read to you what he said.

He said he would not be involved in giving tactical commands like that. So just to break it down, it does sound a little bit like splitting hairs in terms of, I told them I wanted it done but I didn't tell them that they actually had to do it.

However, he's not the first person to try and distance himself from this. This has been a shifting of blame that we've seen since last week.

And remember, the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, originally said that he didn't even know where they were going. Of course, he went back and corrected that, that he did know but he didn't know it was going to be a photo op.

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M. HOLMES: Changing stories.

Meanwhile, in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday the two police officers, who were recorded forcefully shoving that elderly protester to the ground, pleaded not guilty to felony assault and walked out of the courthouse to applause.

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M. HOLMES (voice-over): We don't know exactly who was doing the cheering. We do know that 57 officers of the city's emergency response team quit the unit after the force suspended those two officers, whose names are Aaron Torgalski, he's on the left there, and Robert McCabe, on the right.

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M. HOLMES: A warning now before we show you the video, this is difficult to watch.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move.

M. HOLMES (voice-over): There it is this Thursday. You see Martin Gugino hitting the cement. Blood comes out of his ears almost immediately and pools on the ground. Yet police move past him.

Gugino is now alert. He's in critical condition at the hospital.

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M. HOLMES: Horrific to watch that.

In Los Angeles, thousands of protesters marching in different parts of the city. Our reporters tell us the crowds are diverse with people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. And the atmosphere peaceful and energetic.

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M. HOLMES: Police mostly staying out of the way. CNN's Paul Vercammen was at one of the protests.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Spirited protests throughout Los Angeles. Many of them spread out. And as you see and hear this scene, the honking of horns, the celebrating of the protesters and the chanting that they're doing, it's clear that the LAPD took some sort of hands-off approach as we hear the chants of "George Floyd."

At this protest, we have not seen officers anywhere. And earlier in the day, we were at the University of Southern California; same thing. There were no officers in sight.

We talked to one young man. He just received his graduate degree in physical therapy and he wanted to make a point and that is, education is going to be critical to ending brutality by police against citizens. But he says it's a struggle for black men.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes it feels like when you're getting these high-level degrees, you're trying to outrun racism and it's a race that you can't win. So we want people to help us carry this baton, stand by our sides.

And we want to take our allies and march toward the gates of racism and injustice and I don't think it stands a chance anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERCAMMEN: And now over here near Pan-Pacific Park in Los Angeles you can hear the chants. "No justice, no peace, no racist police." Among the chants, "George Floyd," we've heard all day long. Again, we have not seen a police presence here.

Many of these protesters walking miles throughout Los Angeles and getting appreciative honks from passersby -- reporting in Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen, now back to you.

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M. HOLMES: And now we'll take you to Portland, where we're getting live pictures in here of protests that continue there. It's just after 9:30 in the evening. There are several protests in Portland in different areas and reportedly have all been pretty peaceful so far, though you can see those protesters behind fencing and concrete barricades. We'll keep an eye on those protests, bring you any developments.

And so many protesters are facing a difficult reality, fighting for change at the risk of exposing themselves and their families and their friends to coronavirus. Tear gas could play a big role. We'll explain why.

Also, several Latin American countries in crisis mode but not every leader is taking it seriously. We'll have that and more after the break.

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M. HOLMES: Welcome back.

People standing shoulder to shoulder, yelling, coughing and not always wearing a mask. Basically, that's everything we're told not to do during the coronavirus pandemic. And yet it is, of course, happening at protests around the world.

In some of the more chaotic scenes that we have seen, people are getting tear gassed, which has often led to them, of course, coughing and touching their faces, which you're also not meant to be doing.

This week more than 1,000 physicians and health care professionals signed a letter supporting the demonstrators.

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M. HOLMES: Joining me now is Dr. Jade Pagkas-Bather. She's an infectious disease expert at the University of Chicago. And she is one of more than 1,000 physicians who signed that open letter, supporting demonstrators and suggesting how both the police and protesters could reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus in that environment.

Great to have you on, Doctor. That letter you co-signed does recommend these various ways, not just protesters, police and local officials can reduce potential transmission. Just give us the headlines of what that advice is.

DR. JADE PAGKAS-BATHER, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Yes. Thank you so much for having me. Our basic advice is that obviously the protesters, if they were to be able to maintain social distancing during protests, I know that's difficult but it would be helpful to decrease the coronavirus transmission as well as universal masking during protests.

And then obviously protesting in outside areas instead of enclosed spaces and then, when it comes to law enforcement, using less force so that protesters are not pushed toward each other, not using tear gas, which weakens the natural defenses to viruses and also causes people to seek shelter and go closer together, trying to help each other out, in addition to, you know, not using rubber bullets or tactics that corral people into enclosed spaces or tight spaces, where they can no longer maintain distance.

M. HOLMES: There does seem to be a lot of that going on, sad to say. I guess it's difficult at this point to know the impact of these protests on virus spread. And it's confusing, I suppose, because a lot of states reopened around the same time and people are mingling more and more.

But do you see an inevitable resurgence ahead?

PAGKAS-BATHER: I think it's certainly possible. But I think, as you've said, the fact that many states are opening up at the same time it's going to be very difficult to parse things out and to determine whether the protests are truly the catalyst for the surge in coronavirus cases.

I think one way we could really sort that out and have a clear picture is that if states invested in contact ,tracing whereby they were to trace the steps and the connections of other people who are coronavirus positive.

And then we could possibly link that to either, you know, going to new restaurants that are opening or protests or any other sort of -- any other sort of social gatherings that people may be attending, now that it's been deemed safer to start doing some of that.

M. HOLMES: Some -- there's been some suggestion or some recommendation from some quarters that people who have been protesting should proactively get a test just to check.

Would you recommend that?

PAGKAS-BATHER: I think, I mean, that is the best way to know whether you've been exposed to a virus, apart from being symptomatic yourself and then getting tested. But absolutely, having a test, universal testing, as we saw in South Korea, worked wonders.

And you were able to kind of see how they did that and they were able to contain their cases. So testing is one way to really know for sure whether you had an exposure.

[00:45:00]

M. HOLMES: I was curious, too, because one of the things -- this is obviously based around Black Lives Matter. And we are seeing minority communities disproportionately impacted by the virus.

It does make you think, what can or should be done to address the reasons for that?

PAGKAS-BATHER: That's a really big question. I think what we're seeing at play in terms of not only coronavirus but a lot of other diseases, chronic illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, cancers, is that we're seeing social determinants of health at play.

So basically, when people don't have access to insurance, good health care, then they're later to the game when it comes to be diagnosed with certain illnesses. I think in the case of black and brown people in the United States, they certainly fall into that category of not having equal access as their white counterparts to health care and good infrastructure.

In addition, what compounds this is that many black and brown persons in the United States also are deemed to be essential workers. So these are the people who are, you know, bagging your groceries, who are really facing forward with the public on a regular basis and, therefore, having more exposures than someone who works in an office and can work from home.

A lot of people who are essential workers are delivery personnel, are not able to do those jobs remotely. And so they also come into contact with more people and therefore are at greater risk for coronavirus.

M. HOLMES: Yes. A huge problem ongoing as well. Dr. Jade Pagkas- Bather, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time.

PAGKAS-BATHER: Sure, no problem. Thanks for having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

M. HOLMES: Brazil's health ministry is changing the way it shares vital coronavirus data. On Saturday, its website began showing just new cases and deaths from the past 24 hours and not cumulative totals.

President Jair Bolsonaro says the change will help the country focus on, quote, "the moment."

The last time Brazil released total numbers publicly was Thursday, when it surpassed Italy in reported deaths. And because Brazil is testing at a far lower rate than the U.S., many cases are slipping under the radar. All of Latin America is suffering right now. Matt Rivers with the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been a bad week for many countries in Latin America. In its hardest hit countries, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Peru, the combined case total now tops 1 million.

In Brazil, the crisis is horrific, roughly 650,000 cases and counting the death toll now third highest in the world, officially surpassing Italy and likely to overtake the United Kingdom soon.

But Brazil's leader remains unfazed; as people are dying, the president struck a now familiar note, criticizing lockdown measures.

"The poor are becoming miserable and the middle class are becoming poor," he says. "Everyone in Brazil is becoming the same."

His focus, the economy. The IMF estimates Brazil's economy will shrink by 5.3 percent by the end of the year and unemployment in the country could reach an all-time high.

In Mexico, meanwhile, the outbreak is only getting worse. Daily records in new deaths and cases were reported this week, the curve not flattening but spiking. And yet its president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, was out traveling this week. As for fighting the virus he had nearly useless advice.

"Don't lie. Don't cheat. Don't betray," he says. "That will help a lot in not getting the virus."

Mexico now has more than 110,000 cases and roughly 13,000 deaths. In one children's hospital in Jalisco State, there are 21 confirmed coronavirus cases, three of them newborns.

And finally, in Peru, grim sights, people collapsing in the streets, some dragged to hospitals by their family members, the less fortunate left to die. Experts are worried the situation will worsen, as the case total there tops 190,000.

Oxygen needed to keep people alive is in short supply. Desperate Peruvians have turned online or to an emerging black market to purchase oxygen tanks.

Countries across Latin America have begun to reopen their economies in various ways. But the WHO Is warning countries not to do so too fast. The agency says the transmission rate in Central and South America has not yet reached its peak -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[00:50:00]

M. HOLMES: And our coverage continues of the protests around the U.S. and the world. But another story we're following meantime, the latest on tropical storm Cristobal. That's when we come back.

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M. HOLMES: Welcome back.

Several parishes in Louisiana are under evacuation orders as tropical storm Cristobal approaches. It's packing sustained winds of 50 miles an hour and is expected to strengthen as it heads north in the Gulf of Mexico.

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[00:55:00]

M. HOLMES: Karen Maginnis there.

We're going to leave you this hour with a memorable moment from Friday night's protest in Houston, Texas. Five-year-old Simone Baptiste was there with her parents. Near the end, she became nervous and approached this police officer and asked, "Are you going to shoot us?"

Here's how the officer responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here to protect you, OK. We're not here to hurt you at all, OK?

You can protest. You can party, you can you do whatever you want.

SIMEON BAPTISTE, SIMONE'S FATHER: He spoke about him having a daughter himself and wanting to make it home to his daughter. And you can tell that everything came from a very genuine place.

(END VIDEO CLIP) M. HOLMES: That video has gone viral; more than 3 million views so far.

I'm Michael Holmes. Our coverage continues after the break.