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THOUSANDS AT BARCLAYS CENTER PROTEST MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD

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Protests Against Police Brutality Over Death Of George Floyd Continue In NYC Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Thousands of people — as many as 5,000 according to reports — gathered at the plaza outside Barclays Center Friday evening, part of nationwide protests against the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on Monday.

The protests started peacefully at around 6 p.m. before the NYPD, reportedly in response to a fire set on the plaza, began pepper spraying, beating and arresting protesters. In one video posted on Twitter, a young woman later identified as Dounya Zayer was shown being thrown to the side of the street, her head hitting the pavement. She reportedly suffered a seizure and was hospitalized. The incident is under investigation, WNBC reports.

Police had set up cordons at both the main entrance at Atlantic and Flatbush avenues and at the arena’s Dean Street entrance.

The protesters at one point climbed atop the Barclays Center subway stop before being removed by police. By early evening, some protesters moved north toward Fort Greene, then to the 88th police precinct where the night’s most violent scenes took place. A police van was set on fire.

The Daily News reported...

Protesters tagged police cars with profane graffiti like “F--- the police,” broke their mirrors, and wrecked them...

Crowds began moving toward the precinct around 8:20 p.m., said reports. Some in the group tried to rush the police precinct’s door, said law enforcement sources. Officers kept them at bay, and no protester got inside the stationhouse, said a high-ranking police source.

Between 50 and 100 people were arrested in the protest, said the News.

The entrance plaza has become the site of several protests in its short history, but none have had the size or scope of Friday’s demonstrations. Its size and accessibility above a transportation hub has made it an ideal location for pop-up protests. (Ironically, the plaza was supposed to be the site of an iconic office building when plans for Atlantic Yards were drawn up nearly 20 years ago. It is now seen as a community amenity.)

Across the country, current and former NBA players participated in protests, including former Net Stephen Jackson, a friend of Floyd’s, and the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns, who’s still grieving the loss of his mother from COVID-19.

Here’s a Twitter timeline of the events, starting with the most recent tweet. It will be updated.

Our own Matt Brooks was among the protesters at a similar event at Town Hall in Manhattan. He later tweeted that he’s fine. “I’m good folks, thank you for checking in. Just a casual vitamin D intake through the eyeballs.”

Matt posted about his experiences via Periscope.

Stay safe.