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, referring to the militant far-left movement, short for ‘anti-fascist’, that is known for violence.
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.
Echoing the president, Attorney General Bill Barr said on Saturday that ‘the voices of peaceful protest are being hijacked by radical elements.’
‘Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda,’ Barr said in an on-camera statement. ‘In many places it appears the violence is planned, organized and driven by anarchic and far-left extremist groups using antifa-like tactics.’
‘It is a federal crime to cross state lines or use interstate facilities to incite or participate in violent rioting and we will enforce those laws,’ he added, saying that the FBI, US Marshals, DEA, ATF and U.S. Attorney’s Offices would fully support local and state law enforcement in restoring order and cracking down on violence.
President Donald Trump has blamed antifa and the ‘radical left’ as protests over the death of George Floyd devolved into violence nationwide, with protests in 30 cities that turned to looting, arson and vandalism
Los Angeles: A protester breaks a window of a business after protests over George Floyd’s death turned to violence
Oakland, California: People investigate a vandalized Mercedes-Benz dealership on Friday after arson and looting broke out
St Paul, Minnesota: A protester feeds a fire with copy paper inside a Office Depot after looters ransacked the interior, Friday
Minneapolis: People survey the damage along Lake St. near S. 27th Ave. as a fire burns to the east on Saturday
Echoing the president, Attorney General Bill Barr said on Saturday that ‘the voices of peaceful protest are being hijacked by radical elements’ including ‘anarchic and far-left extremist groups using antifa-like tactics’
Earlier in the day, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz suggested domestic terrorists or foreign influences might be subverting peaceful protests and turning them to violence.
Walz said the riots in Minneapolis had begun to resemble a ‘military operation’ and that he was actively weighing whether to accept military and intelligence assistance from The Pentagon.
‘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
Atlanta: A cop car burns during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd
Atlanta: Demonstrators mass as a cop car burns and protests turn to violence on Friday
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.
Richmond, Virginia: A burned out Richmond City bus is loaded onto a tow truck Saturday after it was burned overnight
Dozens of officers pushed forward with their shields and fired off streams of pepper spray at protesters.
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.’
Windows were smashed and fires were set, and buildings and cars were spray-painted with anti-police graffiti.
Bus service will also be delayed Saturday in Richmond and possibly canceled for the safety of staff and riders.
Authorities in Minneapolis had hoped Chauvin’s arrest on Friday afternoon would allay public anger, but the violence only seemed to spread.
In Houston, where Floyd grew up before he moved to Minneapolis for a new start in life, huge protests also devolved into rioting.
The demonstration, which was organized by Black Lives Matter, saw thousands of protesters process up Main Street to City Hall shouting ‘can’t breathe’ and ‘enough is enough’.
The initially peaceful protest took a violent turn two hours in after a man attempted to punch organizer Ashton Woods as he made a speech.
Houston: Protesters march during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd on Friday
Houston: Black Lives Matter protesters rally in honor of George Floyd at Discovery Green in Houston, Friday
Houston: Police officers try to calm down the crowd after a physical altercation that broke out during demonstrations
Although the scuffle was swiftly broken up by police, some demonstrators moved away from the main protest and attempted to rush and occupy the I-45 freeway.
Others in the throng chanted: ‘Justice for George’, ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘We want change’.
According to the group’s Facebook page, at least 1,800 people turned out, although there appeared to be far more.
One protester described the death of Floyd, who lived in Houston most of his life, as a ‘modern day lynching’.
Rebecca Bozeman told DailyMail.com: ‘Enough is enough. The people have to come out and do their part or nothing will change.
‘It’s been 400 years and it’s still happening. We saw a modern-day lynching. It should not be happening.’
Her friend Sylvia Clinton added: ‘Call it what it is. He was lynched. It was a modern-day lynching.’
Floyd, who had worked security for a nightclub, was arrested for allegedly using counterfeit money at a store to buy cigarettes on Monday evening.
Bail has been set at $500,000 for Chauvin, but it was unclear on Saturday whether he remained in custody. Hennepin County jail records showed no inmate of that name. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.