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2020 in photos: AP images capture chaos, sorrow amid pandemic, protests, catastrophes

The arrival of a mysterious virus, an election, a reckoning over injustice, wildfires -- all in one year

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Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A protester poses for photos next to a burning police vehicle in Los Angeles on May 30, 2020, during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The sudden death of a beloved NBA legend, followed by the firsts of a global pandemic that would eventually ravage everyday life as we knew it. A reckoning over racial injustice after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, prompting protesters to rail against the system. Wildfires in the American West. A tumultuous election year between rivals President Donald Trump and now-President-elect Joe Biden.

The year 2020 was one of anger, loss, conflict and, quite simply, distress.

Photographs from the Associated Press captured the harrowing scenes of what Americans and people all over the world witnessed this year. The images in the gallery above are just a sample of the AP’s “2020-The Year in Pictures” special.

And perhaps the most appropriate image of 2020? It was captured during the waves of protests and riots in the aftermath of Floyd’s death. A protester strides past a burning building in Minneapolis; in his hands, he holds the American flag.

The flag is upside down -- the international signal of distress.

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