'Perfect storm' of civil unrest following George Floyd's death unique, effective, experts say

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An array of combustible issues converged to form a “perfect storm” of civil unrest after Floyd’s death and could lead to longer-lasting changes, experts and protest organizers said.

after protesters massed outside. Protests also flared in Louisville, Philadelphia, Detroit, Austin, Charlottesville, Va., and Columbus, Ohio.

That video, which went viral, is another key reason his death has sparked so much outrage, said Keneshia Grant, a Howard University political scientist. The moments leading to Arbery’s death also were captured on video, but the footage of Floyd’s final moments – with the victim repeatedly saying he couldn't breathe and asking for his mother while irate bystanders pleaded with police to stop – caused a much deeper emotional wound in those who watched it, she said.

Calvetta Williams, founder of Mother's Against Violence in Des Moines, Iowa, normally organizes small rallies of 100 or 200 people for local victims of gun violence. But when she saw the video of Floyd's demise, she felt she needed to organize something bigger. The large-scale rallies that spread through nearly every major city in America over the weekend resemble the mass protests that materialized during the 1960s civil rights movement led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., said Jill Savitt, executive director of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta.

 

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