Minnesota Governor Calls Up Entire National Guard to Quell Violence

The governor of Minnesota called up the state’s entire national guard Saturday for the first time since World War II, awaiting what could be a fifth night of violent protests brought about by the death of an African American man in police custody.For the past four nights, protesting has led to looting, arson and other violence in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as other cities across the United States.“We are under assault,” first-term Gov. Tim Walz said as he promised “full strength” would be used to restore order.Governors in at least seven other states — Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, Utah and Texas — also activated National Guard troops to help quell protests that in many areas have turned violent. Some cities, such as Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles, have instituted nighttime curfews after violence occurred in those cities.The protests are over the death of George Floyd, who was shown in a video lying on the ground with a white officer pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck. Floyd, who was handcuffed with his hands behind his back, pleaded repeatedly, “I can’t breathe.” The cellphone video has sparked global outrage, and protests have spread across the country. While some protests have led to violence, such as arson and looting in Minneapolis and Portland, others have remained peaceful, such as ones in Wilmington, Delaware, and Greenville, South Carolina.Demonstrators clash as people gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Saturday, May 30, 2020, near the White House in Washington.In Washington, U.S. Secret Service agents formed a line late Friday into early Saturday to stop a rowdy crowd in Lafayette Park, across from the White House. Saturday night, a procession of vehicles, honking their horns and festooned with signs including “Black Lives Matter” drove through the district’s southwest quadrant, while other protesters gathered near the White House again.President Donald Trump, speaking outside the White House, offered Walz his support, saying, “They have to get tougher. By being tougher they will honor his [George Floyd’s] memory.”But he said Minneapolis cannot let chaos run free as it did early Friday when officers abandoned a police station and ignored protesters for several hours. Police eventually used tear gas to disperse the crowds.The president blames most of the violence on “Antifa and other radical left-wing groups,” and offered Minnesota federal military assistance.Walz said organized agitators from outside the state were responsible for some of the violence, including white supremacists, anarchists and people associated with drug cartels. “The sheer number of rioters has made it impossible to make coherent arrests,” Walz said. He compared the organized protests to a “military operation” as protest leaders move from location to location, creating new hot spots for police.The full mobilization of the Minnesota National Guard will increase its presence beyond the 700 soldiers already deployed. Major General Jon Jensen of the Minnesota National Guard said there will be more than 1,700 National Guard in the area by Sunday.Protesters rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., May 30, 2020.Protests in various cities around the U.S. started peacefully Friday, but as the night progressed, the violence increased.In Los Angeles, a peaceful protest escalated as an angry mob burned several police vehicles while officers tried to hold them back. The police department declared an unlawful assembly after protesters smashed shop windows and blocked a freeway.  Police marched into downtown Los Angeles to remove the demonstrators.Derek Chauvin, the officer seen restraining Floyd in the video, was fired on Tuesday from the Minneapolis Police Department. He was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Bail was set at $500,000.Floyd’s family responded to the charges, demanding a tougher approach.“We want a first-degree murder charge. And we want to see the other officers arrested. We call on authorities to revise the charges to reflect the true culpability of this officer,” said a family spokesperson.Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the civil rights group NAACP, told VOA that the killing of Floyd shows that “we have in this country not dealt with the issues of race and the value of African American lives in Minneapolis.”He said peaceful protests are “a way for the citizens of this country to bring forth grievances of injustice,” and said the NAACP “absolutely oppose rioting, that never solves anything.”   

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