Donald Trump: US military 'will be deployed' to deal with violent protesters

1 June 2020, 23:57

Donald Trump was speaking from the White House Rose Garden
Donald Trump was speaking from the White House Rose Garden. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

US President Donald Trump has said he will send the US military into cities and states that fail to deal with violent protesters.

Mr Trump was speaking from the White House Rose Garden to a backdrop of noisy demonstrations and what appeared to be explosions from outside the building.

Footage on social media appears to show tear gas being fired at peaceful protesters near the White House in Washington D.C., with one video showing a police officer repeatedly ramming a cameraman with a riot shield.

The US leader, speaking about the nationwide riots following the death of George Floyd, said he would use federal resources and the military to deal with violent demonstrators.

Mr Trump called himself "the president of law and order" as he mapped out the historic measures he would introduce to deal with the unrest.

"First, we are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now," he said.

"Today I have recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets."

He continued: "If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them."

"We cannot allow the righteous cries and peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob," the president said.

He called the behaviour of some of those involved in demonstrations "acts of domestic terror" and said they were not the "acts of the peaceful".

Mr Trump vowed to protect the American people if local authorities fail to do so.

"I am taking immediate Presidential action," he said.

"I am mobilising 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."

Speaking about civil unrest in Washington D.C., Mr Trump added: "What happened in this city last night was a total disgrace."

Riot police cleared the area so that Donald Trump could speak at a nearby church
Riot police cleared the area so that Donald Trump could speak at a nearby church. Picture: PA
Donald Trump held up a bible when he reached the church which had been set on fire on Sunday night
Donald Trump held up a bible when he reached the church which had been set on fire on Sunday night. Picture: PA

He added that the 7pm curfew in the capital will be heavily enforced: "As we speak I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers."

Mr Trump also threatened the organisers of "this terror" that they will face "lengthy" jail terms if they continue using violence when protesting.

Following his statement, the US leader walked to the St John's Episcopal Church, known as The Church of the Presidents, which suffered fire damage in a protest this week.

Peaceful protesters in the area appeared to have been cleared out by military police prior to Mr Trump's journey over to the church.

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