ST. PAUL, Minnesota -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced on Saturday morning that the state's National Guard will now be "fully mobilized" and deployed to "support civil authorities" during protests over the murder of George Floyd.
"Our communities of color, our business community were out front fighting hand in hand to save businesses it took a decade to build," said Walz during a news conference from the state capital in St. Paul.
Protests in Minneapolis turned violent yet again for a fourth straight night, with fires set across the city, objects thrown at the police and dozens arrested, officials said.
"Last night (was) a mockery of pretending this about George Floyd's death or inequities," Walz said, adding that what's happening in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul is "no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd, it's about attacking civil society and installing fear."
"We cannot as members of the community tolerate that," added Minneapolis Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington at Saturday's news conference.
Officials said only about 20% of the rioters are Minnesota residents, making most non-residents with no interest in Floyd's death.
"Nothing we do to provide justice" for Floyd "matter(s) to any of these people who are out here firing upon the National Guard, burning" businesses and "disrupting civil life," Walz said.
"We will not accept George Floyd's death. We will not accept the destruction of our communities, either," added St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.
Walz noted that practicing First Amendment rights should also involve practicing Covid-19 guidelines, but "the folks that are gathering out there... the masks were worn to disguise, to cause confusion and take advantage of that situation."
"The Minnesota National Guard is prepared to protect life, protect property and restore order," said a statement issued Saturday by the Guard.