A Minneapolis judge set a $1m bail for police officer Derek Chauvin today as he made his first court appearance charged with the murder of George Floyd, the 46-year-old African-American man whose death has sparked protests across the US.

Mr Chauvin was filmed on 25 May pressing his knee on Mr Floyd's neck while Mr Floyd could be heard to say "I can't breathe".

Mr Chauvin appeared by video from Minnesota state prison to face charges of one count of second degree murder, one count of third degree murder, and one count of manslaughter.

In a procedural hearing that did not require Mr Chauvin, 44, to submit a plea, the judge in the Hennepin County District Court set his bail at $1 million with conditions, and $1.25 million without conditions.

Meeting the conditions would require him to surrender his firearms, not work in law enforcement or security in any capacity, and have no contact with the family of Mr Floyd.

Earlier, Minneapolis city council members pledged to abolish the police force, as the biggest civil rights protests in more than 50 years demanded a transformation of US criminal justice.

Demonstrations have swept a country slowly emerging from the coronavirus lockdown in the two weeks since Mr Floyd died.

Though there was violence in the early days, the protests have lately been overwhelmingly peaceful.

They have deepened a political crisis for US President Donald Trump, who repeatedly threatened to order active duty troops onto the streets.

Mr Trump took to Twitter around midnight to lash out at the boss of the National Football League, America's biggest sport, who, in a sign of a cultural shift, swung behind protesting players and adopted their slogan "Black Lives Matter".

Huge weekend crowds gathered across the country and in Europe.

The high-spirited atmosphere was marred late last night when a man drove a car into a rally in Seattle and then shot and wounded a demonstrator who confronted him.

The prospect that Minneapolis could abolish its police force altogether would have seemed unthinkable just two weeks ago.

Nine members of the 13-person city council pledged yesterday to do away with the police department in favour of a community-led safety model, though they provided little detail.

"A veto-proof majority of the MPLS City Council just publicly agreed that the Minneapolis Police Department is not reformable and that we're going to end the current policing system," Alondra Cano, a member of the Minneapolis council, said on Twitter.

In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters he would shift some funds out of the city's vast police budget and reallocate it to youth and social services.

He said he would take enforcement of rules on street vending out of the hands of police, accused of using the regulations to harass minorities.

Curfews were removed in New York and other major cities, including Philadelphia and Chicago.

NFL apologises, Trump fires back

Mr Trump said on Twitter he ordered the National Guard to start withdrawing from Washington DC "now that everything is under perfect control".

He has used the Black Lives Matter protest movement as a foil for years to promote himself as a law-and-order candidate.

When black football players knelt during the national anthem to protest against police brutality in 2016, Mr Trump denounced them with an expletive and the NFL effectively took his side, telling players to stand or stay off the field for the song.

Over the weekend, the NFL issued a video of Commissioner Roger Goodell apologising for failing to listen to black players: "We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter," Mr Goodell said.

Mr Trump fired back overnight: "Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell's rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be OK for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?" he tweeted.

In the nation's capital, a large and diverse gathering of protesters had packed streets near the White House, chanting "This is what democracy looks like!" and "I can't breathe."

A newly erected fence around the White House was decorated by protesters with signs, including some that read: "Black Lives Matter" and "No Justice, No Peace."

The "Black Lives Matter" protest slogan was also embraced yesterday by Mr Trump's predecessor as Republican candidate for president, Senator Mitt Romney, who marched alongside evangelical Christians in Washington.

Mr Romney told the Washington Post that he wanted to find "a way to end violence and brutality, and to make sure that people understand that black lives matter".

Former US President Barack Obama also addressed the protests in a YouTube speech for 2020 high school and college graduates.

The demonstrations "speak to decades of inaction over unequal treatment and a failure to reform police practices in the broader criminal justice system," Mr Obama said.

"You don't have to accept what was considered normal before," he told the graduates.

"You don't have to accept the world as it is. You can make it the world as it should be."