Donald Trump offers military to Minnesota amid escalating protests against the death of George Floyd
US President Donald Trump has offered the military to Minneapolis to respond to violent protests in the aftermath of the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd.
- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has not yet requested the support of the military from the Pentagon
- Tens of cities across the US have seen often violent protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death
- Hundreds of people were arrested at a protest in New York after clashing with police
The Pentagon said it has put military units on a four-hour recall status to be ready if requested by Minnesota’s Governor.
Protesters set police cars ablaze, smashed businesses’ windows and skirmished with baton-wielding officers in streets from Atlanta to Los Angeles, as anger over George Floyd’s death spread across the country. Some city authorities, bracing for more violence, called in the National Guard to beef up overwhelmed forces.
Mr Trump said on Saturday that states and cities must get “much tougher” on anti-police protests or the Federal Government would step in.
“Liberal Governors and Mayors must get MUCH tougher or the Federal Government will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests,” he said in a tweet.
In Minneapolis, the city where Mr Floyd died after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck and kept it there for more than eight minutes, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz fully mobilised the state’s National Guard and promised a massive show of force to help quell unrest that has grown increasingly destructive.
“The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd,” Mr Walz said.
“It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.”
Washington, too, had the guard on call to support the Secret Service in managing a crowd of protesters that had gathered outside the White House, which was locked down in response.
Mr Trump warned any protesters who attempted to breach the White House perimeter “would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons. Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action”.
On Friday alone, more than two dozen cities — from New York to Oakland, California, from Atlanta to Portland, Oregon — experienced protests, many peaceful but some of which turned violent. Many protesters spoke of frustration that Mr Floyd’s death was one more in a litany.
Hundreds arrested at New York protest
More than 200 people have been arrested after a particularly violent protest in New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said protesters as well as police officers would be held accountable for the violence at a demonstration in Brooklyn that left people bloodied and vehicles burned.
One demonstrator was charged with attempted murder for allegedly tossing a homemade firebomb at a vehicle occupied by several officers, who escaped without harm.
The protest, one of many around the country over the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota, started peacefully in the late afternoon in Manhattan. Problems flared after several thousand people faced off with officers on the streets around a sports arena.
Mr de Blasio said he was upset by videos of the confrontations “where protesters were handled very violently” by police and by reports that at least two elected officials were among the people sprayed with irritating chemicals by officers at the scene.
“That’s unacceptable, and we need to understand exactly why that happened,” the Mayor said.
But he added some protesters had come “with an agenda of violence and incitement, and they meant to harm police officers, and they did harm police officers.”
Many people in the crowd threw bottles at police. A group set fire to a police van and battered several other police cars with clubs.