New York was under a curfew that would last until early Tuesday morning, officials said, after looters raided stores in central Manhattan, targeting some of the city’s top retailers. Groups of young people moved from block to block around the district, usually bustling with tourists but deserted due to the coronavirus, with entire streets blocked by police. Images from local NY1 television showed some young people running out of a Best Buy electronics store before being arrested by the police.
Stores in the south of Manhattan suffered a similar fate, according to an AFP photographer. The New York Times reported that the flagship Macy’s department store had also been targeted by looters. Police did not immediately confirm this, simply saying that “numerous stores were hit” and arrests made “in the hundreds” across the city. Mayor Bill de Blasio said a lot of stores around Madison Avenue had been hit and the situation was ‘really not acceptable.’
‘The city is fully under control, and overwhelmingly calm and peaceful,’ he nevertheless insisted on NY1. The imposition of the curfew had been announced a few hours earlier by the mayor and New York state governor Andrew Cuomo after protests and looting during the weekend notably in the trendy SoHo district. The mayor tweeted late Monday that “protesters were overwhelmingly peaceful today” but that some people were out to damage property and steal.
Police observed them from a distance but did not arrest anyone despite the curfew. While looters hit New York, in Washington President Donald Trump said he was “dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property.” Mayor de Blasio, a Democrat, denounced Trump’s “bellicose words” and “divisive rhetoric.”