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Minnesota activates National Guard in response to George Floyd protests

The death of George Floyd, the Minnesota man who died after a police officer kept his knee on his neck, has sparked outrage and days of protests in the city. With many of the protests and demonstrations in Minneapolis becoming violent, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the state's National Guard on Thursday "to help protect Minnesotans' safety and maintain peace."  

The executive order also activates the State Emergency Operations Center, according to CBS Minnesota. 

"Unfortunately, some individuals have engaged in unlawful and dangerous activity, including arson, rioting, looting, and damaging public and private property," the executive order said. "These activities threaten the safety of lawful demonstrators and other Minnesotans, and both first responders and demonstrators have already been injured. Many businesses, including businesses owned by people of color, have suffered damage as a result of this unlawful activity."

The order continued to say that Minneapolis "has exhausted its resources," and that the city has requested assistance to help protect "life, safety, and property."

Walz tweeted that "it is time to rebuild."

"Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system, and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they're charged to protect," Walz said. "As Governor, I will always defend the right to protest. It is how we express pain, process tragedy, and create change. That is why I am answering our local leaders' request for Minnesota National Guard assistance to protect peaceful demonstrators, neighbors, and small businesses in Minnesota."

The National Guard's Major General Jon Jensen said, "We are ready and prepared to answer the Governor's request. We are currently in process of assigning and preparing units to respond."

Walz's decision comes a day after protests became violent around the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct. On Wednesday night, people participating in protests set several buildings on fire and looted businesses. The city's fire department, according to CBS Minnesota, responded to 30 intentionally set fires. 

Walz described the scene, particularly near Lake Street and Hiawatha, as "an extremely dangerous situation." 

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