The US president has responded to protests and violent riots in Minneapolis, where demonstrations against police violence continued on Thursday due to the death of African American George Floyd. Donald Trump tweeted that he cannot sit back and watch in this situation. He accused the city mayor, Jacob Frey, of weakness in leadership: either he would get his city under control, "or I'll send the National Guard and get the job done," Trump wrote.
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He berated the demonstrators as thugs who dishonored the memory of George Floyd. He spoke to Tim Walz, the governor of the US state of Minnesota, and promised him military support. "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."
There had been riots between protesters and the police at night in Minneapolis. The police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the demonstrators. Hundreds of protesters broke barricades outside a police station later Thursday evening, threw window panes, and gained access to the building that officials had previously left.
A police spokesman said that the 3rd police station was "evacuated shortly after 10 p.m. local time" in the interest of the safety of our personnel. Live stream videos showed protesters entering the building, fire alarms going off, and sprinkler systems going off when a fire was started.
The National Guard, activated by Governor Tim Walz at the request of the Mayor, did not intervene. She tweeted that her main task was to support the fire department. Fire chief John Fruetel told CNN that his people could not have reached the area.
Governor declares emergency
Walz declared a state of emergency for Minneapolis and surrounding areas. He reacted to riots and looting, which also affected the capital of the United States with St. Paul. The governor's order said peaceful demonstrations were still allowed. Riots also threatened the security of peaceful demonstrators. Whole streets in Minneapolis resembled a battlefield on Thursday even before the storming of the police station.
There were also protests, looting and arson in other places, in addition to St. Paul in the capital of Minnesota. According to media reports, several people were shot at protests in Louisville, Kentucky. According to media reports, there were also protests in Denver, where shooting is said to have also taken place.
"I can't breathe," says the demonstrator. George Floyd kept saying that to the cop who was kneeling on his neck.
Protesters gather outside the police station where the four officers worked, who have now been released due to the brutal dealings with Floyd.
Police officers lined up in front of the station to shield the building from the demonstrators.
The police used tear gas and rubber bullets to push the crowd back.
Floyd's portrait hangs on a street lamp.
A man with a pig's head expresses his protest against the police.
Barricades on the street in front of the police station
Loud protest against excessive police violence
The police respond with tear gas.
A protester turns away from the tear gas.
An injured person is lying on the floor.
A man who was injured in the eye is carried away.
The previous evening, thousands of demonstrators protested against police violence in the US city of Minneapolis.
This shop was ransacked on the sidelines of the demonstration.
With a partly burned American flag, this man shows his protest against the state authorities.
A car parts store is set on fire on the sidelines of the protests.
This was triggered by Floyd's death, which police officers arrested on Monday after an emergency call to a supermarket. He is said to have tried to pay with a counterfeit bill. A cell phone video, which is widely shared on the Internet, shows a white policeman pressing his knee on Floyd's neck for almost eight minutes. Again and again the man tied to the ground groans that he cannot breathe. At some point, the 46-year-old is passed out and brought to a clinic by paramedics, where he later dies. The four police officers involved were released, but have not been arrested so far.
The FBI is now investigating Floyd's possible violation of civil rights. Activists spoke of a recent example of ongoing police violence against black men.
Governor Walz urged profound changes as a consequence of Floyd's death. It was now important to rebuild the city, the judicial system and the relationship between the police and those with whose protection it was entrusted, he warned.