President Donald Trump has blamed antifa and the ‘radical left’ as protests over the death of George Floyd devolved into violence nationwide, after the governor of Minnesota suggested that foreign influences, white supremacists and drug cartels are the fueling chaos.
‘It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!’ Trump said in a tweet on Saturday.
On Friday night, widespread looting and arson continued in Minneapolis and nearby St. Paul, in defiance of curfews there, and protests spilled into violence in 30 cities, as a federal agent in California and a protester in Detroit were shot dead.
Earlier in the day, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz suggested domestic terrorists or foreign influences might be subverting peaceful protests and turning them to violence.
President Donald Trump has blamed antifa and the ‘radical left’ as protests over the death of George Floyd devolved into violence nationwide
Los Angeles: A protester breaks a window of a business during a protest over the death of George Floyd Friday, May 29, 2020, in Los Angeles. Protests have been erupting all over the country after George Floyd died earlier this week in police custody in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
‘Last night is a mockery of pretending that this is about George Floyd’s death, or inequities, or historical traumas to our communities of color,’ said Walz, a Democrat, at a press conference.
‘The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd, it is about attacking civil society, instilling fear, and disrupting our great cities,’ Walz said.
‘As you saw this expand across the United States, and you start to see whether it be domestic terrorism, whether it be ideological extremists to fan the group, or whether it be international destabilization of how our country works,’ he continued.
On Friday night, Walz hinted that white supremacists and drug cartels may be fueling violence or taking advantage of the chaos in the rioting.
Pressed by reporters on rumors that white supremacists were secretly infiltrating Black Lives Matter protests and instigating violence, Walz said: ‘my suspicions and what I’ve seen on this, yes.’
‘It gets worse than that,’ Walz said. ‘The cartels, who are wondering if there was a break in their drug transmissions, are trying to take advantage of the chaos. That’s why this situation is on a federal level.’
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has called for full mobilization of the state’s National Guard, as he suggested that foreign and extremist influences are fueling chaos
A man holds up a sign near a burning building in Minneapolis on Friday night as the city descended into total chaos
On Friday night, widespread looting and arson continued in Minneapolis (above) and nearby St. Paul, in defiance of curfews there, and protests spilled into violence in 30 cities
‘The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd, it is about attacking civil society, instilling fear, and disrupting our great cities,’ Walz said
Walz said at his Saturday press conference that ‘protection of citizens and property is our top priority, and maintaining and restoring civil order on the streets.’
‘The tactics and approach that we have taken have evolved and need to evolve,’ he said.
Floyd, 46, died on Monday in Minneapolis after bystander video captured a white police officer pressing a knee on the handcuffed black man’s neck for at least seven minutes.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired from the force and has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
In response to Friday’s violence, Walz called for the full mobilization of the Minnesota National Guard for the first time in the state’s history.
The Minnesota Army National Guard is composed of approximately 11,000 Guardsmen.
Around 500 National Guard soldiers have already been mobilized in and around Minneapolis, where an officer faces charges over Floyd’s death.
A protester reacts standing in front of a burning building set on fire during a demonstration in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Friday night, over the death of George Floyd
A looter carries goods out of a ransacked business in Minneapolis on Friday night as anarchy was unleashed nationwide
A looter plunders a business in Minnesota on Friday night. The state’s governor is fully mobilizing the National Guard
Looters ransack and Office Depot in Minneapolis on Friday, when the city was overwhelmed by violence and chaos
Fired police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged on Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Walz said that on Friday night, every resource in Minneapolis was deployed to respond to widespread looting, arson, vandalism and violence, and that the forces in the city would be expanded ‘exponentially’ by nightfall on Saturday.
The chaos in Minneapolis was mirrored in cities across the nation on Friday night, as National Guard units were called into Atlanta and put on standby in Washington DC, and two people were fatally shot in separate incidents in California and Detroit.
In Oakland, California, two officers with the Federal Protective Service – a part of Homeland Security created to protect government facilities – were shot, one fatally, in confrontations with protesters. Police are investigating.
Oakland, California: Looters rob a Target store as protesters face off against police on Friday. A federal protective officer was shot dead in Oakland in a face-off with protesters
Oakland: A damaged vehicle sits on its roof during a demonstration on Saturday
Oakland: Graffiti reading ‘kill cops’ is seen in Oakland on Friday, where one federal officer was shot dead
Oakland: Protesters smash the window of a Chase bank during protests in Oakland, California, yesterday
Detroit: Demonstrators run from the police during a protest in the city of Detroit, Michigan, on Friday
Detroit: Riot police officers detain a man during a demonstration on Friday. A 19-year-old protester was killed when an unknown subject fired into the crowd. Police were not involved in the shooting
Detroit: Police detain and arrest protesters during a series of confrontations in the Michigan city last night
Meanwhile, a 19-year-old protester was shot dead in Detroit last night when an unknown subject fired into the crowd.
Police said the man was killed after shots were fired at a crowd of people near Detroit’s Greektown entertainment district last night with dozens of protesters out on the streets, but officers were not involved in the shooting.
The suspect pulled up to the crowd in a Dodge Durango and fired shots at around 11.30pm, and the man was pronounced dead in hospital. No details about who fired the shots were immediately available, police said.
In Brooklyn, a police van was set ablaze and a mob tried to storm the 88th police precinct, and besieged the 84th precinct.
Video posted to social media showed New York City officers using batons and shoving protesters as they took people into custody and cleared streets.
One video showed on officer slam a woman to the ground as he walked past her in the street.
Demonstrators rocked a police van, set it ablaze, scrawled graffiti across its charred wreckage and set it on fire again as officers retreated. Blocks away, protesters used a club to batter another police vehicle.
Brooklyn: Firefighters work to contain the flames from a New York City Police Department van ablaze on Friday night
Brooklyn: Protesters gather during a ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest near Barclays Center on Friday
Brooklyn: Thousands gathered near the Barclays Center in outrage after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died while being arrested by a police officer in Minneapolis who pinned him to the ground with his knee
Brooklyn: NYPD Officers spray mace into the crowd of protesters gathered at Barclays Center on Friday
Brooklyn: A vandalized New York Police Department vehicle is seen on Saturday the morning after a protest
‘There will be a full review of what happened tonight,’ New York mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, referring to the Brooklyn protest. ‘We don’t ever want to see another night like this.’
The NYPD said numerous officers were injured, including one whose tooth was knocked out.
In Portland, Oregon, protesters broke into police headquarters and authorities said they lit a fire inside.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a state of emergency and imposed an 8pm curfew on Saturday night, calling the violence ‘disgusting’.
‘ENOUGH,’ Wheeler wrote in a tweet on Friday night. ‘I had to leave Portland today because my mother is dying. I am with family to prepare for her final moments. This is hard, this is personal, but so is watching my city get destroyed. I’m coming back NOW.’
‘Burning buildings with people inside, stealing from small and large businesses, threatening and harassing reporters. All in the middle of a pandemic where people have already lost everything,’ Wheeler continued.
‘This isn’t calling for meaningful change in our communities, this is disgusting.’
Portland: Policemen walk enveloped by teargas in Portland, Oregon, yesterday as violence escalated in the downtown area
Portland: Police walk through fire and smoke as they push back violent protesters on Friday night
Portland: A fire burns in an office on Friday night during protests in response to the Minneapolis death of George Floyd
Portland: A police officer is silhouetted with a burning car seen in rear, as violence escalated on Friday
Portland: People march from the George Floyd vigil at Peninsula Park towards the Justice Center downtown in Portland Friday
Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp tweeted that up to 500 members of the Guard would deploy immediately ‘to protect people & property in Atlanta’.
Some demonstrators smashed police cars and spray-painted the iconic logo sign at CNN headquarters in Atlanta.
At least three officers were hurt and there were multiple arrests, Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said, as protesters shot at officers with BB guns and threw bricks, bottles and knives.
Atlanta officials said crews were unable to reach a fire at Del Frisco’s restaurant in the Buckhead area several miles north because of protesters there.
At a press conference, Atlanta mayor Ms Bottoms said: ‘This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.
‘You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country.’
Bottoms was flanked by Dr King’s daughter, Bernice King, and the rappers TI and Killer Mike.
‘We have to be better than burning down our own homes. Because if we lose Atlanta, what have we got?’ said Killer Mike, crying as he spoke.
Atlanta: Demonstrators paint on the CNN logo as the besieged the network’s headquarters on Friday
Atlanta: A man wearing a ‘Purge’ mask runs in front of a burning police car during a protest on Friday in Atlanta, Georgia
In Virginia’s capital, a police cruiser was set on fire outside Richmond police headquarters, and a city transit spokeswoman said a bus set ablaze was ‘a total loss.’
In Washington DC, police and Secret Service agents were out in force around the White House before dozens of demonstrators gathered across the street in Lafayette Square chanting, ‘I can’t breathe.’
‘The professionally managed so-called “protesters” at the White House had little to do with the memory of George Floyd. They were just there to cause trouble,’ President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday morning from the White House.
The angry crowd at the White House grappled with Secret Service agents and attempted to breach their line of barricades surrounding the executive residence.
The crowd of hundreds chanted ‘No justice, no peace’ and ‘Say his name: George Floyd.’
A protester holds his hands up as police officers enter Lafayette Park during a demonstration against the death in Minneapolis police custody of black man George Floyd
The Secret Service form a line outside the White House as agitators attempt to breach their barricade during a protest over the death of George Floyd
Demonstrators outside the White House grapple with Secret Service agents as they try to tear down barricades surrounding the executive residence
Protesters wield a barricade after grappling with Secret Service agents at the White House
As some in the crowd at the White House grew more aggressive, police deployed pepper spray to keep them back and maintain a perimeter.
Fellow demonstrators came to the aid of protesters who were sprayed, their eyes red and puffy, offering bottles of milk and water to splash on their faces.
By the end of the night, the protesters had stolen about 15 barricades and left police to form a line of officers holding riot shields to keep back the swelling crowd.
At one point, the protesters were able to gain control of an officer´s shield and set it ablaze before trying to toss it back at the line of officers. Police used a smoke device to quickly stop them.
The protest went on for hours before police declared the gathering “unlawful” and ordered everyone to leave Lafayette Square, a seven-acre public park located directly north of the White House.
Dozens of officers pushed forward with their shields and fired off streams of pepper spray at protesters.
Developing story, more to come.