Minnesota National Guard shares photo of sleeping soldiers after protests


MINNEAPOLIS – After days of peaceful protests turned chaotic over the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis National Guard, which has been called in to assist local authorities in the ongoing unrest, posted a photo on its Twitter account that appeared to show some of the exhausted soldiers asleep.

The caption read: “It has been a long night for citizen soldiers and airmen. “

RELATED: Minnesota National Guard moves to Twin Cities as state pushes to quell riots

Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a white policeman hit a knee in his neck. It was the latest in a string of deaths of black men and women at the hands of police in America that sparked protests across the country.

The Minnesota National Guard shares a photo of sleeping soldiers after protests. (MN National Guard)

In Minneapolis, the city where the protests began, police, state soldiers and members of the National Guard moved in shortly after an 8 p.m. curfew went into effect to break the demonstrations. The show of force came after three days in which police largely avoided engaging protesters, and after the state dumped more than 4,000 National Guard troops in Minneapolis. Authorities said that number would soon rise to nearly 11,000.

RELATED: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz calls Trump protest tweet “not helpful”

Shortly after the curfew began at around 8:45 p.m., officers began firing tear gas, rubber bullets and flashbangs to deter crowds from gathering near the Minneapolis Police Department Fifth Station, according to FOX 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul.

A few days earlier, officers were forced to clear out of the 3rd arrondissement when rioters set fire to this building.

According to Minnesota Department of Corrections commissioner Paul Schnell, soldiers and police were still working to clear the crowds until the next morning.

RELATED: Dozens arrested as National Guard moves in to control Twin Cities

Soldiers are said to have been on guard throughout the night protecting key sites in the Twin Cities, including the state capital.

President Donald Trump appeared to encourage tougher tactics, hailing the National Guard deployment to Minneapolis and declaring “No games!”

Across the country, the National Guard had arrived to support local authorities overwhelmed by chaos. Nighttime curfews have been imposed in more than a dozen major cities across the country, including Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Seattle.

At least 13 police officers were injured in Philadelphia and at least four police vehicles were set on fire on Saturday. In New York City, dangerous clashes erupted repeatedly as officers made arrests and cleared the streets. Video showed two NYPD cruisers rushing through a crowd of protesters pushing a barricade against one and bombarding it with objects. Several people were thrown to the ground. It was not known if anyone had been injured.

In Georgia, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp authorized the deployment of up to 3,000 National Guard troops to Athens, Savannah and any other city where other protests were planned. Kemp had previously approved up to 1,500 guards to help enforce a 9 pm Saturday curfew in Atlanta.

RELATED: Protesters gather in major US cities on Saturday in the wake of George Floyd’s death

A fourth day of violence in Los Angeles prompted the mayor to impose a rare city-wide curfew and call the National Guard after protesters repeatedly clashed with officers, torched police vehicles and looted shops in a popular shopping district.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Saturday he had asked Gov. Gavin Newsom 500 to 700 members of the guard to help the 10,000 officers in the Los Angeles Police Department. Members of the Guard were due to arrive early Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported in Los Angeles.

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