“The situation in Minnesota is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd. It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities,” Governor Tim Walz said during a press conference on Saturday.
Walz said he arrived at the decision to fully mobilize the National Guard for the first time in Minnesota’s history after speaking with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, as well as with mayors from across the country.
The development is expected to see all of the Minnesota Army National Guard’s 11,000 Guardsmen deployed to violence hotspots around the state.
Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis on Monday has unleashed a wave of protests in cities across the United States. In many places the demonstrations have descended into riots, complete with widespread destruction of property and looting.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey echoed Walz’s comments saying that the demonstrations in the city on Tuesday were largely peaceful and organized by local residents. However, he added that the “dynamic changed” over the course of the week and claimed that those responsible for the violence that has gripped Minneapolis in recent nights are not from the city.
Governor Walz earlier suggested, without providing evidence, that white supremacists were responsible for the outbreak of criminal activity on the streets of Minneapolis.