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The National Guard says 5,000 troops have been activated to respond to unrest in 15 states and DC with thousands more ready to go

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

The National Guard announced Sunday morning that 5,000 soldiers and airmen have been activated to respond to unrest in the form of riots and protests in cities across the United States following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes.

As of Sunday morning, the number of National Guard troops that had been mobilized to respond to "civil disturbances" was around 5,000, but "the situation is fluid so those numbers can change rapidly," the Guard said in a statement, adding that another 2,000 troops are ready to activate if needed.

National Guard forces are active in 15 different states and one district, namely California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Utah, Ohio, South Dakota, Washington, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C.

There have been requests for assistance elsewhere, indicating that Guard units could be activated to assist in other parts of the country.

While state and local law enforcement are responsible for maintaining security, National Guard troops are being called up to "assist law enforcement authorities with protecting lives and property of citizens in their state," the Guard said its statement Sunday, explaining that "Guardsmen live in the communities they serve and are there to protect their neighbor's right to protest peacefully."
George Floyd was killed on May 25 when Minneapolis Police Department Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for as Floyd was being detained.

Four police officers were fired and Chauvin has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The charges against Chauvin come after days of protests against police brutality in Minneapolis, but protests have spread beyond Minneapolis to cities across the US and even in some other countries, including the UK, Canada, and Germany.

While many protests have been peaceful, there have also been reports of widespread rioting, looting, property damage, and violence, which has been condemned in many cases by community leaders.

Speaking Saturday, President Donald Trump said that states, Minnesota in particular, are "using the National Guard right now," but said that "we have our military ready, willing, and able if they ever want to call our military. We can have troops on the ground very quickly."

While active-duty forces are not typically permitted to engage in domestic law enforcement activities, there are certain legal loopholes in cases of civil unrest.

The Pentagon said Saturday that US Northern Command has put some units on a 4-hour alert status should they be needed to respond to an emergency situation but added that no request for this type of assistance has yet been made.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Saturday that with the support of the National Guard, the responding security forces would "triple in size to address a sophisticated network of urban warfare."

Trump congratulated the National Guard Sunday morning on Twitter for its actions in Minneapolis Saturday night, tweeting, "The National Guard did a great job and should be used in other States before it is too late!"

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