U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday declared he was mobilising all federal resources in response to protests over the police killing of George Floyd.
He encouraged all governors to deploy the National Guard in their states. He also asked mayors to establish an “overwhelming law enforcement presence”.
He said he will deploy the United States military if state and local governments do not “take the action necessary to defend the life and property of their residents.”
“My first and highest duty as president is to defend our great country and the American people,” he said. “I swore an oath to uphold the laws of our nation and that is exactly what I will do.”
The president vowed justice for Floyd and said he was an “ally of all peaceful protesters” while also describing himself as “your president of law and order.”
Trump said that a 7 p.m. curfew in Washington, D.C. would be strictly enforced and that he would deploy federal forces and law enforcement in response to protests in the capital.
“As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property,” Trump said.
Several loud bangs were heard during Trump’s speech as police fired tear gas into a crowd of protesters in the area.
Earlier on Monday, Trump participated in a video conference on Monday with state leaders and law enforcement authorities to address unrest nationwide stemming from Floyd’s death.
The White House conference call occurred after ongoing demonstrations across the United States — many of which were peaceful and some which were violent.
Thousands of demonstrators were arrested over the weekend after clashing with police and defying curfews in numerous major U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Chicago, Seattle and Salt Lake City.
Reported by UPI