United Sates President Donald Trump has vowed to use all available resources, military and civilians to put an end to protests across the country after the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by a policeman through strangulation in broad daylight.
Speaking from the White House on Monday, Trump vowed to use “all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson, and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights.”
He called on governors across the country to deploy the National Guard and vowed to deploy the US military if states refused to comply.
Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled,” Trump said.
Activating the military would require Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that allows the president to deploy active-duty military on US soil.
The statute was last used during the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles over the acquittals of police officers involved in the brutal beating of Rodney King, a Black motorist.
Protesters were peacefully gathered outside the White House even as Trump began speaking.
Authorities, however, fired tear gas and flash-bang grenades in an attempt to move them away from the area before the president’s address began.
The public areas around the White House, particularly Lafayette Square have been host to demonstrations for four days. On Sunday night, peaceful gatherings turned violent as police clashed with some protesters and several nearby buildings were vandalized or burned.
Calling himself “your law-and-order president,” Trump pledged to escalate efforts to clamp down on the protests in Washington.
“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,”
As his remarks ended, Trump said he was leaving to go pay his respects “to a very, very special place.” He later walked through Lafayette Park, which had minutes earlier been filled with demonstrators, on his way to St. John’s Church, where he posed for a photo while holding up a Bible and then left.