Thousands of people participated on Friday in the third consecutive night of protests in Minneapolis (Minnesota) over the death at the hands of the police of the African American George Floyd, mobilizations that led to the burning of a police station.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced at a press conference “the complete mobilization” of that state’s National Guard and explained that this is an “action that has never been taken in the 164-year history of the National Guard of Minnesota. “
“Last night (Friday) was a joke that this was about the death of George Floyd. It is going to attack civil society, instigate fear and disturb our great cities, ”said the Democratic politician.
Walz noted that “the dynamic” has changed since last Tuesday, when the protests were peaceful: “We have seen more people from outside the city, this is unacceptable.”
“To ensure that we continue to have what is necessary, we have to make sure that we will mobilize the greatest force,” he said.
The protests and riots, which started in Minneapolis and have spread to other parts of the US, were triggered after the death last Monday of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by police when he was arrested. in that locality.
In an attempt to contain the situation, authorities declared a two-day night curfew on Friday in Minneapolis and neighboring Saint Paul, both known as Twin Cities, which failed to prevent further altercations.
At the same conference, General John Jensen, at the head of the National Guard in Minnesota, assured that by this noon he will have mobilized 2,500 troops from that force, compared to the 1,700 that had been announced previously that they were going to deploy This morning, although he stressed that they are not enough for what they have requested “resources at the national level”.
In this regard, he revealed that he has requested assistance from the Pentagon and that he has held conversations in the last twenty-four hours conversations with Defense Secretary Mark Esper: “We are looking at what resources we can have, whether they are intelligence or otherwise,” he stressed without saying. give more details.
Jensen explained that the Minnesota National Guard has 13,200 troops, but that not all will be able to deploy because not all are ready due to lack of training.
Meanwhile, in the state of Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear reported this Saturday that he has called the National Guard to “keep the peace” in the city of Louisville, where there have been protests the last two nights over the death in March of a Black woman Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead by police at her home.
Beshear said the protests were initially peaceful but turned violent on Friday, and that they have “intelligence” information that there may also be riots this Saturday.
Pentagon considers sending military police
The US Department of Defense He also announced yesterday that he is preparing the deployment in Minneapolis (Minnesota) of active units of the military police to curb the riots, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
According to the newspaper, the Pentagon has alerted active-duty units across the country, at the request of US President Donald Trump, who has been seeking options with his national security advisers, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, on how to deal with altercations in dozens of cities.
Officials cited by The New York Times indicated that the Army issued “preparation for deployment” instructions to military police units at various bases. The National Guard has already been activated not only in Minnesota but also in other parts of the US, such as Kentucky, as is usually done when there are riots, but the deployment of the military police would mean an escalation in the authorities’ response.
The newspaper recalled that the military police were employed in 1992 during the Los Angeles (California) riots that followed the acquittal of four police officers who beat up African-American Rodney King.
If the deployment occurs in Minneapolis, it is possible that the first units to do so would be those of Fort Bragg in North Carolina and that of Fort Drum in New York, indicated the sources consulted by the newspaper, who, however, clarified that the current order “preparing to deploy” does not mean that they will be activated for sure, although this is a first step.