US President Donald Trump praised Tuesday the “overwhelming force” deployed in the nation’s capital to halt looting and enforce a citywide curfew.
“D.C. had no problems last night. Many arrests. Great job done by all,” Trump tweeted after Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser imposed a curfew on the city overnight. “Overwhelming force. Domination. Likewise, Minneapolis was great (thank you President Trump!).”
D.C. had no problems last night. Many arrests. Great job done by all. Overwhelming force. Domination. Likewise, Minneapolis was great (thank you President Trump!).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2020
Trump promotes military use against protestors in US as church burned down in D.C.
Bowser has been at loggerheads with the president after federal police forcefully cleared protesters from an area near the White House about 25 minutes before Bowser’s curfew was set to take effect. Just minutes later Trump casually walked through the area for a photo opportunity in front of an historic church that was burned by looters the previous night.
St. John’s Episcopal Church was vandalized overnight Sunday amid protests regarding the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, who died after being forcefully restrained in police custody.
D.C. fire officials confirmed that there was a fire in the basement at the church. Officials also said the blaze was extinguished. It appears from images and social media reaction that there is no damage to the sanctuary.
The rector from St. John’s Church said the fire was in the nursery and did not spread, but that the nursery was just a burned-out shell now.
He said that he is most concerned that his church be a beacon for anti-racism and good in the world.
Has confirmed that there IS a fire in the basement of St. John's Church near Lafayette Park. #DCProtests #DC #Stjohnschurch #GeorgeFloydProtests https://t.co/wIvaDU67xe pic.twitter.com/zKWtVZ4tfA
— WUSA9 (@wusa9) June 1, 2020
Trump posed for photos in front of the church and raised a Bible for reporters to see.
Military use against protestors in US condemned by many
Bowser said federal police used munitions on people “who didn’t seem to have provoked any attack,” calling the use of force “very concerning” while continuing to maintain the right of individuals to protests peacefully while heeding the curfew, which is set to go into effect again Tuesday.
“At no time did we assist federal police with the president’s movements,” Bowser said Tuesday during an interview with MSNBC.
While the nation’s capital has deployed the National Guard to assist in “traffic management,” it has yet to see active duty military personnel deployed to the city’s streets, Bowser said, and should that happen it would be “inappropriate.”
“Bringing in the active duty military against Americans for any reason is inappropriate,” she said.
Retired senior military leaders condemned their successors in the Trump administration for ordering military units on Monday to rout those peacefully protesting police violence near the White House.
As military helicopters flew low over the nation’s capital and National Guard units moved into many cities, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, publicly aligned themselves behind a president who chose chemical spray and rubber bullets to clear peaceful protesters from a park so that he could stage a photo op at a nearby church.
More than 40 percent of active-duty and reserve personnel are people of color, and orders to confront protesters demonstrating against a criminal justice system that targets black men troubled many.
Overnight Monday scenes emerged from Washington, D.C. of authorities using low-flying helicopters to disperse protesters, but it is unclear which agency or agencies were carrying out the actions.
Video footage posted to social media by bystanders showed helicopters hovering below or near building lines as they kicked up strong gusts on protesters as debris filled the air.
George Floyd protests have become increasingly violent
Unrest envelopes US cities as they are convulsed by protests and witness clashes between police and protestors coupled with looting since the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd a week ago. The unrest, which started off as isolated incidents over the death of George Floyd, has accelerated across the United States, and has the whole 9 million square kilometres of the territory firmly in its grip. Major cities have now become the battleground for the showdown between law enforcement and rampant protestors, with the latter holding the former responsible for racial discrimination and murder.
Read more: Unrest envelopes US cities as protests spread across the country
Demonstrators took to the streets of more than 140 towns and cities overnight Sunday, US media reported, with many protests turning into running battles with police.
Curfew were renewed in a number of cities on Monday as the country geared up for another night of turmoil. Military use against protestors has been another course of action that the government has decided to take.
Trump hides in underground bunker during White House protest
After Trump took to social media a few days ago and suggested military use against protestors, citizens were clearly not happy with this decision. They decided to protest outside the White House.
Read more: Trump hid in underground bunker
Trump was moved to the secure location by the Secret Service, according to reports by the New York Times and Associated Press. According to reports, the president spent about an hour in the facility, which is designed to be used in case of a physical threat to senior executive officials.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk