US protests more peaceful, defense secretary breaks with president
Protestors in New York city also stayed on the streets till late in clear violation of a night-time curfew that started earlier that before.Updated: Jun 04, 2020 00:28 IST
An eight-feet tall fence greeted protestors at the White House Tuesday, aimed at keeping them further away from the seat of American power, but it failed to deter them from showing up in even larger numbers. They stayed late, chanting slogans and singing, in defiance of night-time curfew.
Protestors in New York city also stayed on the streets till late in clear violation of a night-time curfew that started earlier that before. They had been largely peaceful but as it got late into the night, looting and violence broke out sporadically, but not on the scale seen the previous night.
More than two dozen American cities such as Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles were under various durations of curfew as protests and demonstrations continued across the United States in support of justice and against persisting racism, triggered by the death of George Floyd, an African unarmed American man, in police custody in Minneapolis last week.
“I want justice for him because he was good, no matter what anybody thinks,” Roxie Washington, the mother of Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, told told reporters at a press conference in Minneapolis on Tuesday, breaking down uncontrollably at time.s. “He was good and this is the proof that he was a good man,” she added, pointing at their daughter Gianna.
Protests at the White House and the Trump administration’s overwhelming response to them, with implications for the rest of the country, have come under special scrutiny. Specially in the light of the action taken by law enforcement agencies to clear a park teeming with protestors Monday to make way for the president to walk to a nearby stage with an entourage of cabinet members and senior officials to stage a photo-op.
US defense secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday sought to further clear his role in this incident and the use of US military reservists of the National Guard by the Trump administration to quell the violence accompanying the protests in some parts with a strategy to “dominate” the streets.
“I don’t support invoking the Insurrection Act,” Esper said in first public comments, referring to a 200-year-old law the president has sought to invoke to deploy active-duty troops against the protests.
He added, in a significant break with the president, “The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most ... dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now.”
But on Tuesday, the Pentagon moved 1,600 additional troops to the Washington DC area. But it stressed, in a statement from the the spokesman, ”Active duty elements are postured on military bases in the National Capitol Region but are not in Washington, DC. They are on heightened alert status but remain under Title X authority and are not participating in defense support to civil authority operations.”
US military police personnel have been standing by deployment in New York, at the request of local officials, who have so far not only held off on calling in either them or the National Guard reservists, despite repeated public calls from the president, a former New Yorker .
New York city fared much better Tuesday than the night before . “So far, the curfew is certainly helping, based on everything I’ve seen in Brooklyn and Manhattan over the last three hours,” he wrote on twitter late int he evening. But some disturbances were reported after, once again, nothing comparable the previous day.