US President Donald Trump has threatened that he would deploy the military if the states fail to take necessary actions to quell the violent protests that have spread across the country over the custodial killing of African-American George Floyd.
During a hurriedly-convened address to the nation from the Rose Garden of the White House, Trump announced on Monday that he was dispatching "thousands and thousands" of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property.
For about a week now, properties worth billions of dollars have been destroyed in the US, and rioters have damaged commercial centers, and public places and looted from shops and malls, in angry response to the killing of Floyd, a 46-year-old man who was pinned to the ground in Minneapolis last week by a white police officer who kneeled on his neck as he gasped for breath.
"Today I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets. Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled," Trump said.
"If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and proper of their residents, then I will deploy the US military and quickly solve the problem for them," he threatened.
Trump said the country, in the recent days, has been gripped by "professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, Antifa and others".
But at the same time, in his address to the nation, Trump also said all Americans were "rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death" of Floyd, and asserted that justice will be served.
He assured the nation that he was taking actions to stop the violence and restore security and safety in America.
The president said he had mobilised 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, including the Second Amendment rights.
A number of state and local governments have failed to take necessary action to safeguard their residents, he said.
"Innocent people have been savagely beaten, like the young man in Dallas, Texas who was left dying on the street, or the woman in upstate New York viciously attacked by dangerous thugs. Small business owners have seen their dreams utterly destroyed. New York's finest have been hit in the face with bricks," he said. "Brave nurses who have battled the coronavirus are afraid to leave their homes. A police precinct has been overrun. Here in the nation's capital, the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial have been vandalized. One of our most historic churches was set ablaze. A federal officer in California, an African-American enforcement hero, was shot and killed," he said. PTI