Ilhan Omar says protests valid, destruction not
But the congresswoman also attributed much of the destruction to people “not interested in protecting black lives.” Setting fires risks the community that people claim to be standing for, Omar said, adding: “There are people who exploited the pain that communities are feeling and ignite violence.”
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died as white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck. Three other officers stood by and did not intervene. All four were fired, and Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s death sparked national outrage across the country, as protests swept Minneapolis and other major cities, including New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Protesters chanted “No justice, No peace,” yelled “I can’t breathe” and did the Cupid shuffle. Others also engaged in damage, setting fires, looting stores and targeting Confederate monuments. Tensions escalated in some areas as police officers tear-gassed protesters, drove cars through crowds and even targeted media crews with nonlethal rounds.
More than two dozen cities enacted curfews. The National Guard has been summoned in at least 12 states and the District of Columbia.
Omar has been on the ground in Minneapolis and urging people to stay home after the city’s curfew. She said having the National Guard present made community members feel better about not seeing homes and businesses burned.
However, Omar added: “There really was also many people who chose to demonstrate and not abide by the curfew, who felt like they also were terrorized by the presence of tanks, by the presence of the National Guard and the militarized police.”
President Donald Trump has been blaming far-left radicals and Antifa for any of the violence that has come out of the protest. Some officials have said there have been far-right instigators as well.
“When we see unrest take place, it is often the people saying they have had enough,” Omar said Sunday.
On where to look for leadership and support, Omar dismissed the idea of turning to Trump. She said the president has “failed in really understanding” how people are feeling, and it’s time to look to each other.
“When you have a president who really is glorifying violence and was talking about the kind of vicious dogs and weapons that could be unleashed on citizens, it is quite appalling and disturbing.”