Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) said Sunday that Minneapolis protesters who defied the governor’s curfew orders Friday and Saturday night were “terrorized” by the National Guard and police enforcing the governor’s orders.
“There really was also many people who chose to demonstrate and not abide by the curfew, who felt like they also were terrorized by the presence of tanks, by the presence of the National Guard and a militarized police,” Omar said on ABC’s This Week.
The Minneapolis protests, which started last week in response to the death of a black man held in police custody, took a violent turn Wednesday night when protesters burned and looted cars and businesses. On Thursday night, rioters set the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct on fire.
On Friday, Minnesota governor Tim Walz (D.) ordered an 8 p.m. curfew and pleaded with protesters to abide by it, hoping to separate those who wished to incite violence from peaceful protesters. By Saturday morning, after repeated nights of violent clashes between police and protesters, Walz said in a press conference that the protests were pursuing destruction rather than justice.
“Let’s be very clear, the situation in Minneapolis 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,” the governor said.
Many did not obey the governor’s curfew Friday or Saturday, but increased National Guard presence Saturday night prevented the damage from being as severe as the previous two nights.
The killing of George Floyd, an African-American man and Minneapolis resident, by Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, sparked a national outcry and protests in cities nationwide against police brutality this week.