US Republican Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas on Monday urged the use of military force against protestors who took the streets across the US. The protests come after a black man was killed by the police. Protestors feel that strict punishment should be given to the officer that killed him. The US senator tweeted against the Floyd protests.
“Anarchy, rioting, and looting needs to end tonight,” Cotton said on Twitter. “If local law enforcement is overwhelmed and needs backup, let’s see how tough these Antifa terrorists are when they’re facing off with the 101st Airborne Division.”
Anarchy, rioting, and looting needs to end tonight.
If local law enforcement is overwhelmed and needs backup, let's see how tough these Antifa terrorists are when they're facing off with the 101st Airborne Division.
We need to have zero tolerance for this destruction.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) June 1, 2020
Antifa, short for “antifascist,” is a far-left anti-fascist political activist movement that became popular in the US following the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. It is composed of groups, networks and individuals who believe in aggressive opposition to far right-wing movements.
Trump and US senator tweet against Floyd protests
“We need to have zero tolerance for this destruction,” Cotton added.
US President Donald Trump retweeted his post and said: “100% Correct. Thank you Tom!”
Cotton later tweeted: “And, if necessary, the 10th Mountain, 82nd Airborne, 1st Cav, 3rd Infantry—whatever it takes to restore order. No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters.”
In a separate tweet, he also called the ongoing protests a “domestic terrorism”.
“George Floyd deserves justice. And our First Amendment protects peaceful protests of his wrongful death,” he wrote. “But this violence isn’t protest: it’s domestic terrorism.”
Lindsey Graham, another Republican senator, urged a similar action on Saturday, saying “the lawlessness on the streets is not the answer” and he “fully supports the use of federal forces, if necessary, to restore order.”
The death of George Floyd
Floyd, 46, died after officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His last words were “I can’t breathe” which became the slogan of the nationwide protests.
Nearly two minutes before he removed his knee the other officers checked Mr Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and were unable to find one. He was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center in an ambulance and pronounced dead around an hour later.
Read more: George Floyd’s murder: violent protests spread across the US
The medical examiner noted Mr Floyd had underlying heart conditions and the combination of these, “potential intoxicants in his system” and being restrained by the officers “likely contributed to his death”.
Violent protests break out across the US
Despite curfews in major US cities, demonstrators took to the streets for the sixth day of protests Sunday.
Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, said her city was sharply limiting access to its central business district after violent protests. She reflected the exasperation of many officials and ordinary residents over the turn from peaceful protest to explosive violence.
Read more: Unrest over George Floyd murder wreaks havoc in US
She told CNN she was “hurt and angry at those who decided to try to hijack this moment and use it as an opportunity to wreak havoc, to loot and to destroy. You should be ashamed of yourselves. What you have done is to dishonor yourself, your family and our city.”
Several people have been killed or wounded in shootings linked to the unrest, and looters have raided neighborhood shops and upscale commercial districts from Santa Monica, Calif., to Boston, as a sixth day of largely peaceful protests descended into lawlessness.
President Trump, who has been besieged by protests and fires outside the White House, took a hard line on Monday in a call with state governors. “You have to arrest people,” the president said, warning that governors would look like “jerks” if they did not crack down.
Trump unpopular among Americans by opposing Floyd protests
Trump over the past few days has taken to Twitter to denounce a law enforcement response he felt hasn’t been strong enough, especially criticizing local Democratic leadership across the country and suggesting the military may need to be called in to deal with rioting.
Read more: Trump hid in underground bunker during White House protest
The protests outside the White House came after Trump’s response the murder of George Floyd by the police. He took to social media to express his disapproval of the violent protestors.
Angry protestors gathered outside the White House to oppose his handling of the situation. Due to this, reports say that Trump hid in an underground bunker with the help of the Secret Service.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk