White house
Protesters hold signs outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 29, 2020 during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white policeman kneeled on his neck for several minutes. Image Credit: AFP

Washington:  Several hundred people angrily protesting the death of an African-American man in police custody in Minneapolis rallied outside the White House on Friday, in tense scenes that have spread to several cities across the country.

President Donald Trump was in the mansion during the protest that converged on a park across the street from the White House, where several dozen Secret Service agents lined barricades.

Demonstrators wielded signs saying "Stop Killing Us" and called for justice for George Floyd, who died on Monday after a white police officer pressed his knee down on the neck of an unarmed and handcuffed Floyd for several minutes.

Serious clashes were largely averted outside the White House, and demonstrators marched down Washington streets towards the US Capitol.

Floyd's violent arrest and death was caught on a video that went viral, and re-opened the nation's deep wounds over racial inequality.

The arrest and charges of third-degree murder filed against Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin apparently have not tamped down the anger in Minneapolis, which has been rocked by three days of fiery riots that devastated parts of the city.

Protesters remained on the streets Friday night, defying an 8pm (0100 GMT) curfew.

Protests had also spread to New York, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, Las Vegas, San Jose and Memphis.