Minnesota authorities announced Saturday that they have ordered the mobilization of the entire National Guard, the state reserve body, for the first time in its history, to deal with riots during protests over the death of an African American at the hands of the police.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced at a press conference “the full mobilization” of 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 was a joke that this was about the death of George Floyd. It is going to attack civil society, instigate fear and disturb our big cities,” said the Democratic politician.
Walz noted that “the dynamic” has changed since 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.
Extension of protests
The protests and riots, which started in Minneapolis and have spread to other parts of the United States, were triggered after the death last Monday of George Floyd, a black man who died at the hands of policemen when he was detained in that town.
In an attempt to contain the situation, authorities on Friday declared a two-day night curfew in Minneapolis and neighbouring Saint Paul, both known as Twin Cities, which failed to prevent further altercations.
At the same press 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 previously announced that they were going to be deployed this morning, although he stressed that they are not sufficient 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 talks in the last twenty-four hours with the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper: “We are looking at what resources we can have, whether they are intelligence or otherwise,” he stressed without giving further 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.