As US riots rage, Trump points finger at Antifa

 

Far-left anarchist group Antifa will be designated a terrorist organisation, as authorities try to clamp down on extremists who are inflaming race riots across America.

US President Donald Trump said "Antifa and the Radical Left" were responsible for stoking the unrest.

The White House has increasingly said Antifa, a militant coalition which stands for "anti fascists" and seeks to physically confront and bring down the far-right, are turning major cities across the country into war zones.

"This is being driven by Antifa," national security adviser Robert O'Brien said on Sunday, local time.

"And they did it in Seattle. They have done it in Portland. They have done it in Berkeley. This is a destructive force of radical - I don't even know if we want to call them leftists. "Whatever they are, they're - they're militants who are coming in and burning our cities, and we're going to get to the bottom of it."

Other authorities have laid the blame more broadly, with Minnesota's Democratic governor saying their rioters included white supremacists and cartel members.

And Republican Senator Marco Rubio said the rioters "don't fit a simple left vs. right identity" and they included the far right Boogaloo group, which aims to start a new civil war.

"In city after city we have a rogues gallery of terrorists from Antifa to 'Boogaloo' groups encouraging & committing violence," he said.

"They may not be ideologically compatible but share a hatred of govt & police & are taking advantage of the protests."

UNREST GROWS

Meanwhile, unrest over the killing of George Floyd spread overseas, with thousands of protesters gathering in London, Berlin and Toronto as a new video emerged of the last moments of his life.

The video, posted by controversial activist Shaun King, appears to show Mr Floyd in a violent struggle inside a police car last Monday, after they tried to arrest him in Minneapolis.

Mr King said the short video showed Mr Floyd being beaten, but it is unclear what is happening in the car.

In the criminal complaint laid on Friday against his alleged killer, prosecutors said the 46-year-old father of two resisted arrest.

He did not voluntarily get in the squad car and "struggled with the officers by intentionally falling down", the papers said.

 

America is in crisis as violent clashes between police and protesters broke out over the death of an unarmed black man. Picture: AP
America is in crisis as violent clashes between police and protesters broke out over the death of an unarmed black man. Picture: AP

The four officers - three of whom still face potential charges over his death - were responding to a report that Mr Floyd had tried to pass off a fake $20 note in a deli.

Protests over his death have devolved into chaos in the past week, with tens of thousands of rioters tearing through America's major cities Saturday night, attacking police, torching cars and buildings and defying curfews in increasingly violent clashes.

New York's Times Square, the White House and blocks of Los Angeles were among iconic US locations targeted on the fifth night of protests.

 

A rubber bullet is fired over a protester by police hidden by a cloud of tear gas in Minneapolis.Picture: AP
A rubber bullet is fired over a protester by police hidden by a cloud of tear gas in Minneapolis.Picture: AP

 

Two NYPD cruisers drove into a crowd of protesters as arsonists struck across the city and 33 officers were inured.

At least 13 Philadelphia cops were injured, and there were multiple shootings in Indianapolis.

US President Donald Trump threatened to unleash "vicious dogs" on anyone who breached the White House as the National Guard joined the Secret Service in a cordon to defend the building against a rowdy crowd.

Curfews were enforced nationwide, cities declared states of emergency and looters emptied and burnt-out CBD department stores and banks after overrunning and assaulting police officers.

Minneapolis, where George Floyd's on-camera death happened after he was pinned for almost nine minutes beneath a white officer's knee last Monday sparked this powder keg, suffered through its fifth straight night of chaos.

Minnesota Governor Tim Palz said the state was deploying 11,000 National Guard troops, its entire force, for the first time in history.

 

Protests have broken out across the US. Picture: AP
Protests have broken out across the US. Picture: AP

"The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd," said Mr Walz.

"It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities."

Mr Palz earlier said Minneapolis was being targeted by extremists and organised groups, including drug cartels, white supremacists and far-left Antifa thugs.

Entire blocks of the Midwest city have smouldered for days, leaving a trail of ransacked stores and burnt-out buildings and destroying at least 170 local businesses.

Police there took their first major victory about 9pm local time, pushing back protesters who had besieged the inner-city Fifth Precinct. This was the police station where Mohamed Noor, the rookie cop who shot dead former Sydney life-coach in 2017, worked.

There were dozens of arrests overnight, according to Department of Corrections Commission Paul Schnell.

Officer Derek Chauvin was on Friday charged with murdering Mr Floyd. The delay in charges against his three colleagues, who also leaned on Mr Floyd, further inflamed protests.

 

 

People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest outside the US Embassy in London. Picture: AP
People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest outside the US Embassy in London. Picture: AP

 

 

According to the White House, more than 80 per cent of the rioters tearing through the twin cities of Minneapolis and St Paul were from out of state.

US President Donald Trump has reportedly put the Army's Military Police on four hour notice to step in, for the first time since 1992.

In a speech following the successful SpaceX NASA launch in Cape Canaveral, he called for calm and said the country would not fall to anarchists.

"I understand the pain that people are feeling," he said.

"We support the right of peaceful protesters, and we hear their pleas. But what we are now seeing on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with justice or with peace.

"The memory of George Floyd is being dishonoured by rioters, looters, and anarchists. The violence and vandalism is being led by Antifa and other radical left-wing groups who are terrorising the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses, and burning down buildings.

 

 

 

"The main victims of this horrible, horrible situation are the citizens who live in these once lovely communities. The mobs are devastating the life's work of good people and destroying their dreams. Right now, America needs creation, not destruction; co-operation, not contempt; security, not anarchy. And there will be no anarchy. Civilisation must be cherished, defended, and protected. The voices of law-abiding citizens must be heard."

As Saturday dawned, cleaning crews had taken to the streets of cities such as Atlanta, the scene of mayhem the night before, and repainted the CNN building that the night before was attacked.

But as evening came, with many cities spiking temperatures around 30 degrees celsius, tens of thousands more defied curfews and grouped on streets.

Chaos erupted in capitals across the country, where racially diverse crowds, many of them filming non-stop with their cell-phones, butted up against officers in riot-gear.

 

 

 

They were hit with pepper spray, tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets, many engaging in rolling battles with law enforcement.

The unrest spread to dozens more cities, including Tulsa, Oklahoma, where 300 black people were massacred in 1921, and Tallahassee, Florida, where a pick-up truck ploughed through a crowd of protesters.

LA's up-market cafe-lined Fairfax district resembled a war zone as dozens of riot-squad officers tried to enforce an 8pm curfew amid trashfires and destroyed businesses.

The city deployed its National Guard for the first time in almost 30 years, since the 1992 Rodney King riots.

Eleven states and Washington DC activated their National Guard and at least 25 cities imposed curfews.

 

 

 

Authorities said more than 1300 people had been arrested in 16 cities since Thursday, including more than 500 on Friday in Los Angeles.

In New York, A 27-year-old woman was charged with the attempted murder of four officers after throwing a molotov cocktail at a marked police cruiser in Brooklyn.

The bottle didn't explode and none of the officers were injured in the attack, which happened late Friday night local time.

Samantha Shader, from the Catskills, allegedly bit officers who tried to arrest her, and her 21 year old sister was charged with interfering with the arrest.

 

 

Originally published as As US riots rage, Trump points finger at Antifa



’Off the rails’ bureaucracy a concern for councils too

premium_icon ’Off the rails’ bureaucracy a concern for councils too

Gympie Mayor Glen Hartwig speaks on the CCC report into Jackie Trad and the public...

State accused of keeping $2B project secret for three years

premium_icon State accused of keeping $2B project secret for three years

MPs say government has run ‘roughshod’ over community, kept them in the dark

Truck crash still haunting major Gympie overpass

premium_icon Truck crash still haunting major Gympie overpass

Speed, load limits tipped to be taken away once repairs are finally complete.