Washington, Jun 2: US President Donald Trump said that peaceful protests following the death of African-American man George Floyd in police custody were derailed by acts of domestic terrorism.
"These are not acts of peaceful protests, these are acts of domestic terror - the destruction of innocent life, and the spilling of innocent blood is an offence to humanity and a crime against God," Trump said during a press briefing on Monday.
Trump also added that the chaos is the work of professional agitators and provocateurs - anarchists and the far-left movement Antifa, among others - and put them on notice, vowing to enforce law and order.
He further said, "Those who threaten innocent life and property will be arrested, detained and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I want the organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail. This includes Antifa and others who are leading instigators."
The US president also that he is invoking an 1807 law to mobilize the military around the country to "quickly solve the problem."
"I am also taking swift and decisive action to protect our capital Washington DC. As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldier, military personnel and enforcement officers to stop the rioting," Trump said during a press briefing.
"I am mobilizing 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 your Second Amendment rights," he added.
Trump said mayors and governors must establish an "overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled." If the city or state refuses to take the actions, Trump said he would deploy the US military.
Trump on Monday also said that all Americans are rightly 'sickened by the brutal death' of George Floyd and his administration is fully committed to providing justice to George and his family.
"All Americans were rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd. My administration is fully committed, the justice will be fully served for George and his family and He will not have died in vain," Trump said.
"My first and highest duty as president is to defend and protect the great country and the American people. I have sworn an oath to uphold the laws of our nation and that is exactly what I will do," he added.
After the media address, Trump made a surprise visit to the damaged St Johns church near White House, walking through park violently cleared of protesters. He walked to the church across the street from the White House after tear gas was fired at protesters in the area.
Trump says peaceful protests derailed by 'acts of domestic terrorism'