As police officers are targeted by rioters and looting takes place in several places amid widespread protests across the U.S. over the death of George Floyd in police custody, President Donald Trump vowed to use federal troops to end the unrest.
In an address to the nation on Monday evening, Trump said he strongly recommends that state governors deploy the National Guard to dominate the streets. Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled, he said in a brief address from the White House Rose Garden.
“If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” he added.
The President also announced that he is dispatching thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to protect the capital, Washington D.C, from rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the destruction of property.
He warned that seven o’clock curfew will be strictly enforced. “Those who threaten innocent life and property will be arrested, detained, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Naming Antifa, Trump warned that the instigators of this violence will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail.
Trump had designated the militant far-left, anti-fascist movement as terrorist outfit the day before.
Earlier, in a conference call, Trump urged state Governors to try to “dominate” unruly protests.
A police officer was among two people shot following protests in Las Vegas on Monday, local media reported.
St. Louis city police department said at least four police officers were injured in gunfire.
Injuries were reported as a car rammed into a group of police officers at a demonstration in Buffalo, New York.
On the other side, police responded aggressively in many cities, and used tear gas and pepper spray to quell the unrest.
The nationwide revolt against the blackman’s death reportedly resulted in the killing of two people in Chicago. Several U.S. cities, including New York City, are under curfew.
The death of George Floyd has been declared as homicide by independent medical examiners, according to lawyers representing Floyd’s family.
Former President Barack Obama said the violence was “compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause.”
He called for political solutions to address their grievances about criminal justice.
“Aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices — and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands,” he said without mentioning Trump’s name.
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