Businesses were burned down, gunshots were fired at police, and protests turned violent in the Twin Cities early Saturday in what Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D) described as “incredibly dangerous” , fluid and dynamic ”, which triggered the largest deployment of civil law enforcement. in the history of the state.
Over 2,500 state and local police and the National Guard – a force greater than the response to the riots of the late 1960s – deployed to protect firefighters trying to put out the fires and enforce a law at 20 hours. curfew challenged by certain groups that infiltrated the protests and inflicted “gratuitous destruction” in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
“I can fully understand the rage,” Walz said at a press conference. “But it’s not painful. … It’s not George’s death. … It’s about creating chaos. “
Governor said he takes responsibility for underestimating the level of violence that erupted after the arrest of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, explaining that his strength was outnumbered by the thousands that have spread through the city streets. The police – reinforced by 1,000 soldiers of the National Guard – began to apply the curfew around 11:30 p.m. and found themselves changing tactics throughout the night, withdrawing to protect various assets, in particular the 5th police district.
Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard, confirmed that the state had not been consulted but believed that it was prudent for the Pentagon to activate the military police in case they had need help to restore order. About 1,000 other National Guard soldiers arriving this weekend will join police forces in the twin cities.
The state and local authorities expect another big demonstration later on Saturday and have expressed concern that anarchists, criminal opportunists and other groups will mingle with legitimate claimants and cause more destruction.
“These people want nothing more than to fuel the conflict,” said Walz.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) said the city’s resources were stretched.
“As a city, we are much more than that. As a city, we can be much better than that, ”he said. “There is no honor in setting your city on fire. … If you care about your community, you have to stop that. It must stop. “