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As protests rock U.S. cities on holiday weekend, Jacob Blake speaks out

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(C) Reuters. A woman and a man are detained by police officers on the 100th consecutive night of protests against police violence and racial inequality, in Portland

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(Reuters) – Jacob Blake, the Black man who was shot in the back by a white police officer in Wisconsin last month, spoke out for the first time from his hospital bed as dueling demonstrations over racial justice and policing continued to roil U.S. cities.

In a video posted on Twitter, Blake, dressed in a green hospital gown, described being in constant pain after the shooting that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

“I got staples in my back, staples in my damn stomach,” he said in the video posted by his attorney, Ben Crump, late on Saturday. “It hurts to breathe, it hurts to sleep, it hurts to move from side to side, it hurts to eat.”

The Aug. 23 shooting of Blake, 29, reignited protests over racism and police brutality that have swept the United States since May when another Black man, George Floyd, died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The demonstrations have coincided with widespread upheaval over the social and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 190,000 people in the United States, the highest death toll in the world.

The protests have also moved to the forefront of President Donald Trump’s campaign to be re-elected on Nov. 3.

At the start of the three-day Labor Day weekend, police in Rochester, New York, used tear gas to disperse some 2,000 protesters in the fourth night of unrest over the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died after an encounter with police in March.

Nine people were arrested and three police officers were treated at local hospitals for injuries sustained during the clashes, the Rochester police department said on Sunday.

In Louisville, Kentucky, armed supporters of the police squared off with Black Lives Matter demonstrators before the famed Kentucky Derby horse race on Saturday.

Louisville has emerged as a flashpoint because of outrage over the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman killed in March by police who burst into her apartment using a so-called “no-knock” arrest warrant that did not require them to announce themselves.

Violent clashes also rocked the city of Portland, Oregon, for the 100th day overnight. Demonstrators threw rocks and fire bombs at police who in turn used tear gas, leaving at least one person injured and leading to more than 50 arrests.

The Pacific northwestern city has remained another hotspot partly, according to some civic leaders, due to the deployment of federal troops there in July

As protests rock U.S. cities on holiday weekend, Jacob Blake speaks out

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