There have been chaotic scenes in the US capital as riots over the death in custody of black Minneapolis man George Floyd flared up in dozens of cities and areas normally out of bounds became targets for protesters.

Buildings were set alight not far from the White House where crowds gathered and President Donald Trump was moved into a secure bunker on Friday.

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Such is the anger over Floyd's death that monuments that have stood for decades without being defaced are now covered in graffiti.

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On the fountain at the World War II memorial there were the words: "Do Black Vets Count?"

Outside the Lincoln Memorial, graffiti read: "Y'all Not Tired Yet?"

Graffiti targeting police appeared on a number of other historical monuments, forcing the caretakers of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and National Mall sites to publicly condemn those responsible.

Outside the White House, fires raged. Smoke mixed with clouds of tear gas amid reports some protesters tried to break through security barriers.

Spray paint that reads 'No More Black Bodies' is painted near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington. AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster
Spray paint that reads 'No More Black Bodies' is painted near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington. AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster

Secret Service agents dressed in riot gear kept watch over the White House lawn while the President's administration called protesters "thugs" while Trump lumped praise on the National Guard for how it responded to the uprising in Minnesota.

The demonstrations were sparked after Floyd was handcuffed and kept on the ground for more than 10 minutes while begging to be allowed to breathe.

Demonstrators hold their fist in the air while a fire burns inside the office building of the AFL-CIO headquarters near the White House. AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Demonstrators hold their fist in the air while a fire burns inside the office building of the AFL-CIO headquarters near the White House. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

A white police officer, Derek Chauvin, continued to kneel on Floyd's neck despite his protests. He died after being taken away in an ambulance and Chauvin was later charged with his murder.

His death led to six straight days of unrest and the US now heads into a new work week with neighbourhoods in shambles, urban streets on lockdown and political leaders struggling to control the coast-to-coast outpouring of rage.

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Despite curfews in big cities across the country and the deployment of thousands of National Guard soldiers over the past week, demonstrations descended into violence again on Sunday.

Protesters hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police in Philadelphia.

Seven Boston police officers were hospitalised.

Police officers and National Guard soldiers enforcing a curfew in Louisville, Kentucky, killed a man early Monday when they returned fire after someone in a large group fired at them first, police said.

In Indianapolis, two people were reported dead in bursts of downtown violence over the weekend, adding to deaths recorded in Detroit and Minneapolis.

In Australia, a rally planned at Sydney's Hyde Park on Tuesday was cancelled after people threatened to create "havoc and protest against the event," an organiser said on social media.

The rally was presented as a peaceful protest against the over-representation of indigenous Australians in Australia's criminal justice system as well as in solidarity for Floyd who was "brutally and inhumanly murdered".

Spray paint that reads 'Do Black Vets Count?' on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington. AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster
Spray paint that reads 'Do Black Vets Count?' on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington. AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster

Organisers posted that "although Australia is far from where the murder took place, we have a voice".

Thousands of protesters are expected at similar rallies planned for the Australian cities of Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide on Saturday. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Sydney Radio 2GB on Monday "there's no need to import things … happening in other countries here to Australia". referring to US riots.