Violence, looting, anarchy, lawlessness won’t be tolerated: White House on protest over George Floyd’s killing

Violence, looting, anarchy and lawlessness will not be tolerated, the White House has said amidst nationwide protests over the killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

“The president has made clear that what we are seeing on America’s streets is unacceptable. Violence, looting, anarchy, lawlessness are not to be tolerated,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at her news conference on Monday.

“Plain and simple. These criminal acts are not protests, they are not statements, these are crimes that harm innocent American citizens,” she said, referring to the nationwide rioting and looting that has been going on for the past week which started in protest against the custodial killing of African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis, the largest city in the US state of Minnesota.

Considered to be the worst-ever civil unrest in the US in decades, the violent protests have engulfed at least 140 cities across America in the days following the death of Floyd, the 46-year-old man who was pinned to the ground in Minneapolis on Monday by a white police officer who kneeled on his neck as he gasped for breath.

A large number of protests from New York in the North to Austin in down South and from Washington DC in the East to Los Angeles in the West have turned violent. As many as 17,000 National Guard troops have been activated in 24 states, the press secretary said.

“The First Amendment guarantees the right of the people to peaceable assemble; what we saw last night in Washington and across the country was not that. To that end, President Donald Trump is demeaning action to protect American citizens, to protect American businesses,” McEnany said.

“There are 350,000 National Guard available overall, and for the lawlessness, more steps are being taken. Governors across the country must act, deploy the National Guard as it is fit and protect American communities,” she said.

“As President Trump has said repeatedly it’s very important that we have peaceful protesters and support the right of peaceful protesters, but we cannot allow a situation like what happened in Minneapolis to descend further into lawless, anarchy and chaos, and we understand that very well,” she said.

Responding to questions, McEnany said an Oval Office address or an address to the nation might not be a solution to this lawlessness.

“The President as recently as 48 hours ago was out talking about what a tragedy the death of George Floyd was, how it has weighed on his heart, on how he encourages peace and lawfulness in our streets and peaceful protests,” she said.

“He has made many statements to this effect but what I would note is continual statements as he has made day and day and day again, they don’t stop anarchy. What stops anarchy is action, and that is what the President is working on right now,” McEnany said.

To another question, McEnany said the President fundamentally rejects the idea that these “egregious actions” of these four Minnesota officers are representative of the police force as a whole.

“Most of our officers in this country are good, hardworking men and women who work every day to police our streets. He has recognized cases of injustice,” she said.

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