10 things you need to know today: June 1, 2020

Protests continue against police brutality, officials warn demonstrations could result in coronavirus spike, and more 

A BLM sign
(Image credit: DAVID LINTOTT/AFP via Getty Images)

1. Protests continue for 6th day since George Floyd's death in police custody

Protests continued Sunday for a sixth night over the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis police custody. There were mostly peaceful demonstrations during the day with outbreaks of looting in some cities. Thousands were arrested. Curfews have been enacted in more than two dozen cities and the National Guard has been activated in 15 states and Washington, D.C., where riot police pushed back thousands of protesters after a fire was set across from the White House. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) restricted access to her city's downtown area, making it accessible only to residents and essential workers. Atlanta authorities fired two police officers and placed three others on desk duty for using excessive force during a Saturday protest.

The Washington Post The Associated Press

2. Officials warn demonstrations could result in coronavirus spike

Public officials across the country on Sunday warned that mass protests over police violence against African Americans could result in a spike in coronavirus infections. The protests in at least 75 cities have brought large crowds together, often shoulder to shoulder. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) warned that "thousands of people jammed in together in close proximity" could easily spread the virus. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) expressed the same concern. "I'm extremely concerned we are seeing mass gatherings," she told CNN. "We're going to see the other side of this in a couple of weeks." As states gradually reopen their severely damaged economies, the number of infections nationwide has risen to nearly 1.8 million, with more than 104,000 deaths.

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The New York Times CNN

3. Trump vows to label antifascist activists as terrorists

President Trump on Sunday blamed radical leftists for outbursts of violence as protests against police brutality spread across the country. Trump tweeted that his administration "will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization," using the shorthand name used to refer to a loose movement of "anti-fascist" activists. Attorney General William Barr said that violence by "antifa and similar groups" is "domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly." Legal experts said that antifa is not an organization with a structure Trump could penalize. They also noted that there is no domestic terrorism law, so Trump would not have the authority to follow through on his statement. Some observers said the administration was merely trying to divert attention from the broad anger over killings of African Americans by police that sparked the protests.

The New York Times The Washington Post

4. Report: Trump moved to White House bunker during Friday's protests

On Friday night, President Trump spent nearly an hour in an underground bunker, as protesters gathered outside the White House, CNN and The New York Times reported Sunday. The Secret Service put up metal barriers to keep the protesters at bay, and some threw objects like water bottles at the officers. At one point, after demonstrators pushed against them, agents used pepper spray. The Secret Service decided to move Trump underground as the tension escalated, CNN reports. It is unclear if he was joined by first lady Melania Trump and their teenage son, Barron Trump. Trump tweeted on Saturday that the Secret Service did "a great job last night at the White House," as they were "not only totally professional, but very cool."

CNN The New York Times

5. Astronauts dock and enter space station

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday in SpaceX's Crew Dragon, the first spacecraft to carry humans into space from U.S. soil since 2011. The docking came 19 hours after a launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but lightning and rain led to its postponement. Weather threatened to derail Saturday's launch, as well, but the skies cleared in time. The mission, a joint effort by NASA and SpaceX, marked the first time a private company sent a spacecraft carrying a crew into space. After docking, Behnken and Hurley, both experienced astronauts and former military test pilots, performed safety checks on the SpaceX capsule before boarding the space station, where they will stay for one to four months.

National Geographic NASA

6. Target, other retailers close stores as unrest continues

Target Corp. announced Sunday that it was temporarily shutting or limiting hours at 200 stores as protests continued over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Retail outlets in several cities have been looted, adding to their problems as they struggle to reopen after coronavirus lockdowns. In Los Angeles, for example, numerous upscale stores were broken into, including Alexander McQueen on Rodeo Drive and Nordstrom and Apple in the nearby Grove Shopping Center. "We hope to reopen our doors as soon as possible," Nordstrom said in a statement. "We had impacts at some of them and are in the process of assessing any damage so we can resume serving customers." Apple said it would keep some of its stores closed on Sunday.


7. More religious congregations resume services, with social distancing

A rising number of religious congregations resumed in-person worship services over the weekend, many with social distancing rules to reduce the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, for example, resumed public Mass but restricted churches to half-occupancy, filling only every other pew. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints resumed some services in Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Illinois, and Utah, but continued closures in Nevada, Hawaii, Washington, and other states. Some states have included religious organizations in blanket bans against large gatherings. More than half the states have continued to permit religious gatherings despite the pandemic, but many churches, synagogues, and mosques across the country have livestreamed services as a safety measure.

The New York Times

8. Biden visits scene of Delaware protests

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday visited the site of protests in Wilmington, Delaware, against police brutality against African Americans. Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, wore a mask as he met with people at the scene of the demonstrations in an outing that marked his second public appearance since the start of coronavirus lockdowns in mid-March. "The only way to bear this pain is to turn all that anguish to purpose," Biden wrote on Instagram. "And as President, I will help lead this conversation — and more importantly, I will listen." The protests have been ongoing across the United States since last Monday, when George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes.


9. Minnesota attorney general to assist prosecutor with George Floyd cases

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Sunday announced he will assist Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman in cases stemming from the death of George Floyd. Freeman said there have been "recent developments in the facts of the case where the help and expertise of the attorney general would be valuable," and Ellison has agreed to be a full partner. Floyd died last Monday after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes, as Floyd told him, "I can't breathe." The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired on Tuesday along with three others who were at the scene. Chauvin was arrested and charged on Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. On Saturday, Floyd's family asked that Ellison take over the case.

CBS Minnesota

10. Christo, artist who framed landmarks in fabric, dies at 84

The artist Christo, known for public artworks featuring fabric-wrapped buildings and natural landmarks, died Sunday of natural causes. He was 84. Christo and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, were credited with changing the way people thought about iconic sites and about art. Some of their best known projects included the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris, a string of islands in Miami's Biscayne Bay, and the Reichstag in Berlin. At the time of his death, Christo was preparing for one of his most ambitious works yet: wrapping the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, scheduled for September 2021. "Christo and Jeanne-Claude's artwork brought people together in shared experiences across the globe," his office said in a statement, "and their work lives on in our hearts and memories."

ART News

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.