Police cars were blown up, windows were smashed and graffiti that levelled threats against American police officers were seen across the US over the weekend as the country's protests continued.

The turbulence sparked by the death of George Floyd - an African-American man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes - shook not only the streets of New York and Los Angeles, but dozens of smaller communities such as Fargo, North Dakota, and Lincoln, Nebraska.

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Peaceful protests involving tens of thousands of people yesterday gave way, in some places, to violence, with police vehicles torched, stores emptied and objects hurled at officers.

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Atlanta George Floyd protesters attack a responding fire truck and it’s crew with rocks breaking windows. Video / Sandy Springs Fire Department

But one particularly powerful photo went viral, showing an African-American woman kneeling in front of armed police.

The protester knelt in front of San Jose Police officers during a protest on East Santa Clara Street in San Jose, California over the weekend.

The photo was captured by Dai Sugano, a photojournalist at The Mercury News who has also captured many scenes of the increasingly violent protests and looting following Floyd's death.

Elsewhere, the police response varied from restrained to aggressive, with officers at times firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Police and peaceful protesters alike pleaded for a stop to violence, saying it weakened calls for justice and reform.

Pictures showed the aftermath of the horrific and violent protests.

A protester rides past a burning police car during a demonstration next to the city of Miami Police Department. Photo / AP
A protester rides past a burning police car during a demonstration next to the city of Miami Police Department. Photo / AP
People work outside a damaged courthouse. Photo / AP
People work outside a damaged courthouse. Photo / AP
A man rides through an emptied Kmart in Minneapolis. Photo / AP
A man rides through an emptied Kmart in Minneapolis. Photo / AP
A Los Angeles Police Department kiosk is seen ablaze in The Grove shopping centre during a protest over the death of George Floyd. Photo / AP
A Los Angeles Police Department kiosk is seen ablaze in The Grove shopping centre during a protest over the death of George Floyd. Photo / AP
A man passes a burnt-out bank in La Mesa, California. Photo / AP
A man passes a burnt-out bank in La Mesa, California. Photo / AP
A burned-out and abandoned New York City Police vehicle. Photo / AP
A burned-out and abandoned New York City Police vehicle. Photo / AP
A man looks at the broken windows at a Pittsburgh Starbucks. Photo / AP
A man looks at the broken windows at a Pittsburgh Starbucks. Photo / AP
A person jumps on a burning police vehicle in Los Angeles. Photo / AP
A person jumps on a burning police vehicle in Los Angeles. Photo / AP
Workers haul away the broken front window of a Bank of America branch in Lower Manhattan. Photo / AP
Workers haul away the broken front window of a Bank of America branch in Lower Manhattan. Photo / AP
A police car burns after protesters marched to the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. Photo / AP
A police car burns after protesters marched to the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. Photo / AP
Demonstrators paint on the CNN logo during a protest in Atlanta. Photo / AP
Demonstrators paint on the CNN logo during a protest in Atlanta. Photo / AP
Shattered glass hangs from the doorway of a 7-Eleven store in Chicago. Photo / AP
Shattered glass hangs from the doorway of a 7-Eleven store in Chicago. Photo / AP