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Memorial held for George Floyd ahead of more demonstrations

Military vehicles closed off much of Washington city centre to traffic ahead of a planned march.

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The casket of George Floyd is set inside the church for a memorial service in Raeford, North Carolina ((Ed Clemente/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

The casket of George Floyd is set inside the church for a memorial service in Raeford, North Carolina ((Ed Clemente/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

The casket of George Floyd is set inside the church for a memorial service in Raeford, North Carolina ((Ed Clemente/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

Hundreds of mourners have lined up to pay their respects to George Floyd in his North Carolina hometown as the US capital prepared for what is expected to be the city’s largest demonstration yet against police brutality.

Military vehicles closed off much of Washington city centre to traffic ahead of the planned march, which was expected to attract up to 200,000 people outraged by Mr Floyd’s death 12 days ago at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

Large protests also took place across the US and in major cities overseas, including London, Paris, Berlin and Sydney.

In Raeford, the small town near Fayetteville where Mr Floyd was born 46 years ago, a long line of people formed outside a church, waiting to enter in small groups for a chance to look at his coffin.

A private service has been scheduled for later in the day.

The line of people waiting to view the coffin included families with young children and teenagers.

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A picture of George Floyd and flowers are set up for a memorial service for Floyd, Saturday, June 6, 2020, in Raeford, North Carolina (Ed Clemente/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

A picture of George Floyd and flowers are set up for a memorial service for Floyd, Saturday, June 6, 2020, in Raeford, North Carolina (Ed Clemente/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

AP/PA Images

A picture of George Floyd and flowers are set up for a memorial service for Floyd, Saturday, June 6, 2020, in Raeford, North Carolina (Ed Clemente/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

One young woman wore a green and gold graduation cap and gown as she walked beside her parents. Most people wore surgical masks or cloth face coverings.

When a hearse bearing Mr Floyd’s coffin arrived, chants of “Black Power”, “George Floyd” and “No justice, no peace”, echoed from beneath the covered entrance.

Washington has seen daily protests for the past week. These have been largely peaceful, with people marching back and forth from the White House to the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial.

Army secretary Ryan McCarthy said local officials expected 100,000 to 200,000 protesters for Saturday’s event. The White House has been fortified with new fencing and extra security precautions.

In general, demonstrations in the US have shifted to a calmer tenor in recent days after frequent episodes of violence in the early stages.

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Demonstrators at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC (AP)

Demonstrators at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC (AP)

AP/PA Images

Demonstrators at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC (AP)

Protesters and their supporters in public office say they are determined to turn the extraordinary outpouring of anger and grief into change, notably in regard to policing.

In Minneapolis, city officials have agreed to ban chokeholds and neck restraints by police and to require officers to try to stop any other officers they see using improper force.

In California, governor Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s police training programme to stop teaching officers how to use a neck hold that blocks the flow of blood to the brain.

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The casket of George Floyd arrives inside the church for a memorial service (Ed Clemente/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

The casket of George Floyd arrives inside the church for a memorial service (Ed Clemente/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

AP/PA Images

The casket of George Floyd arrives inside the church for a memorial service (Ed Clemente/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

Democrats in Congress are preparing a sweeping package of police reforms, which are expected to included changes to police-accountability laws, such as revising immunity provisions and creating a database of police use-of-force incidents.

Revamped training requirements are planned, too, among them a ban on chokeholds.

The US house of representatives is expected to vote by the end of the month. With Democrats in the majority, the bills will almost certainly pass the house.

The outcome in the senate is less certain. Republican majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the chamber would look at the issues, but he has not endorsed any particular legislation.

PA