Protests Becoming More Peaceful Due to Federal Law Enforcement: Acting DHS Head

Bowen Xiao
By Bowen Xiao
June 7, 2020USshare
Protests Becoming More Peaceful Due to Federal Law Enforcement: Acting DHS Head
Demonstrators hold placards as they march to the White House during a peaceful protest in Washington, on June 6, 2020. (Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images)

Violent rioting and looting has slowed across the nation with demonstrations appearing largely peaceful due to the presence of federal law enforcement, according to Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf.

Wolf said the administration’s response in ensuring state governors and local mayors had the law enforcement necessary maintain peace and order has worked.

“Over the last several days, we’ve seen that violent protest and that violent looting and rioting diminish,” Wolf told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on June 7. “It’s not by happenstance and it’s not by chance. It’s because we took early action.”

What started as peaceful protests over the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody has been exploited, according to the DOJ. While most have peacefully demonstrated, Attorney General William Barr said recently they had evidence the protests had been “hijacked” by Antifa and other similar groups.

“Can you imagine [what would have happened] if we had not done anything, if we had not increased our police presence in the D.C. area and in cities across the country?” Wolf said. “So I think we took the right action, and what we’ve seen is we’ve seen governors deploy the National Guard. We’ve seen governors and state mayors call the federal government asking for support. And that’s what we’ve given them. And I’m happy to say it’s worked.”

Protests in Washington on June 6 were almost completely peaceful, Wolf noted, with “almost no arrests.” He also said the option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role “should only be used as a matter of last resort.”

Earlier this month the president and Barr held a conference call with governors across the nation, telling them to crack down on the violence and to call on the national guard if needed. The government, meanwhile, has made 51 arrests for federal crimes in connection with the rioting.

In a June 7 interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Barr said the point behind the call was to alert governors to the importance of having enough “adequate forces at hand” so as to ensure events could be controlled after “the most violent day in Washington in 30 years.”

“It’s more dangerous for everybody if you have these wild melees with thinly-manned police lines running after protesters with batons … it’s important that adequate forces [are] on the street,” Barr said.

The attorney general also said it was “completely false” that the president demanded 10,000 active duty troops be ordered onto American streets. Barr said during a White House meeting on June 1, that they all agreed the use of troops would be a “last resort.”

“I felt, and the Secretary of Defense felt, we had adequate resources and wouldn’t need to use federal troops,” he said. “But in case we did, we wanted them nearby.”

Officials from both sides say that outside groups have exploited the recent protests to further their own agenda. Police departments in several states have also warned of materials being purposely planted in certain locations so as to fuel rioting.

After the violence appeared to have slowed in recent days, the president announced in the early morning on June 7 that he had just ordered the national guard “to start the process of withdrawing from Washington.” He said the situation now seems like “everything is under perfect control.”

“They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed,” the president wrote on Twitter, referring to the national guard. “Far fewer protesters showed up last night than anticipated!”

In a sign that the violence is diminishing, New York City lifted its 8 p.m. curfew, which had been put in place in response to riots and looting, a day early, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on June 7. There were about 40 arrests citywide on June 5—far fewer than previous nights—and no obvious signs of the smash-and-grab stealing that marred protests previously.

At a June 4 presser, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the agency has “quite a number of ongoing investigations” against “violent anarchists extremists,” including what he described as “those motivated by Antifa, or an Antifa-like ideology.”

“We categorize and treat those as domestic terrorism investigations and are actively pursuing them through our joint terrorism task forces,” he said. “What tactics they use varies widely—sometimes from city to city, sometimes even from night to night.”

From The Epoch Times

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