Protesters in US cities are defying curfews, with some reports that police have trapped thousands of protesters on two bridges connecting the island of Manhattan.

A listener has sent a video to RNZ of protesters marching in New York about 9.20pm local time, more than an hour after the 8pm curfew.

The protesters are among thousands of people demonstrating against racial inequality right across the US following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man who died at the hands of police.

The protesters in the video can be heard chanting “black lives matter”, marching down the street and blocking all traffic. They are surrounded by the sound of sirens.

The woman who took the video, an Australian living in the city, did not want to be named.

“It’s so heartbreaking, I have so many American friends and colleagues who have spent their entire lives not having the same equal rights as myself or my friends or my family,” she said.

She said she had confirmed through posts on social media a police presence at either end of both Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge, the two main bridges linking Manhattan with the mainland, with thousands of protesters trapped on the bridge.

“I’m terrified because I can see a world in America where all of those protesters would be shot. And that says something about the government and the police that are here,” the woman said.

“It’s very emotional, a very emotional time. I feel although I’m physically in my apartment, mentally my brain is constantly on this and thinking about this.”

She encouraged people to talk about the situation and confront racial inequality.

“I think it’s really tough to sit by and feel like I can’t do much apart from having conversations with people … I would encourage people to not shy away from the situation, I’ve gone to my flatmates and firends and colleagues and asked ‘what can I do as a privileged white person’, and they say the best thing I can do is just continue to have that conversation.” /radionz