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George Floyd Protests: Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York



The Defense Department ordered the Army to prepare military police units to deploy to Minneapolis after another night of protests.

Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota said on Saturday that he was activating thousands of National Guard troops to suppress protesters in Minneapolis who turned out in droves for the fourth night in a row on Friday, burning buildings to the ground, firing guns near the police and overwhelming officers.

“Our goal is to decimate that force as quickly as possible,” Mr. Walz said of the rioters who have been causing the damage, a group that he said was different from demonstrators who protested against police brutality after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being pinned down by a white officer. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was charged with murder on Friday.

The move by Mr. Walz to activate all of the state’s available Guard troops — up to 13,200 — comes after protesters defied a newly imposed curfew on Friday night and set a string of businesses on fire, including a bank, a restaurant and a gas station.

Commissioner John Harrington of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said that there had been “tens of thousands” of people in the streets, more than any other night since Mr. Floyd’s death on Monday set off a wave of protests across the country that have become increasingly destructive.

Mr. Walz compared the havoc the protesters had wrought on Minneapolis to wars that Americans have fought overseas, and said he expected even more unrest on Saturday night.

“What you’ve seen in previous nights, I think, will be dwarfed by what they will do tonight,” he said.

More law enforcement officers will be patrolling the streets in Minneapolis and St. Paul than ever before, officials said. Mr. Walz also said he would not rule out requesting a few hundred additional troops from the federal government.

At the orders of President Trump, the Defense Department has ordered the Army to prepare active-duty military police units to deploy from several army bases to Minneapolis.

Minnesota officials said it appeared that some of the more violent protesters were from out of the state. The people who defied the curfew on Friday had launched fireworks at police officers, set cars and buildings ablaze and forced Guard troops to retreat at one point, before they returned to clear people away from the Police Department’s Fifth Precinct.

Mr. Harrington, the state’s public safety commissioner, said officials had thought the protests might smolder after Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was shown on a cellphone video kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck as he lost consciousness, was charged with third-degree murder. But they have only gotten worse.

The police began arresting protesters shortly before midnight, when they convened at the Fifth Precinct the day after they had taken over the Third Precinct and set it on fire. Unlike Thursday, the police did not flee from the building.

Even as most demonstrators left the streets early on Saturday morning, the fires continued to rage, leaving a trail of battered local businesses and hollowed out vehicles.

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