US National Guard deployed following clashes in Minneapolis over death of George Floyd
US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
500 soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard have been deployed in the city of Minneapolis, where rioting and looting has broken out following protests over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, earlier this week.
We have activated more than 500 soldiers to St. Paul, Minneapolis and surrounding communities. Our mission is to protect life, preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate. A key objective is to ensure fire departments are able to respond to calls.
— MN National Guard (@MNNationalGuard) May 29, 2020
Demonstrations have been taking place in Minneapolis all week following the death of Floyd, who passed away while in police custody on Monday (25 May).
Video footage of the incident has prompted outrage in the United States and beyond as Floyd could be seen gasping for breath and saying "Don't kill me" while a police officer held his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes. The footage also shows onlookers repeatedly asking the police officer to stop.
Four responding police officers in the Minneapolis Police Department have been removed from their posts as a result of the incident.
Floyd's death has only added to existing anger following the deaths of a number of black Americans at the hands of police, including Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.
Protests have been taking place in Minneapolis for three consecutive nights since Floyd's death and escalated on Thursday night, when looting, vandalism and arson occurred in various parts of the city.
A police station is amongst the buildings reported to have been set on fire after being overrun by protestors, believed to be the third precinct, where the officers involved are said to have worked before being removed from their posts.
Demonstrations have taken place in other cities throughout the United States, including New York and Denver, but have been most prominent in Minneapolis, with President Donald Trump suggesting he is prepared to take extreme action to deal with the matter if the situation is not brought under control by the city’s mayor, Jacob Frey.
“I can’t stand back and watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis,” Trump tweeted.
“A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard and get the job done right...
“These THUGS are dishonouring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” Trump added.
“Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”