Peaceful protests continue while Esper reverses decision to send troops home from D.C.
Updated: 2020-06-04 10:02:34 KST
Undeterred by curfews, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across the U.S. on the 8th day of nationwide protests on Tuesday.
This included protesters who massed a block away from the White House, just a day after a violent crackdown on the peaceful protesters.
Protesters were met by law enforcement personnel standing behind a black chain-link fence.
The fence was put up overnight to block access to Lafayette Park, just across the street from the presidential mansion.
Protesters remained on the streets after the city's 7PM curfew, defying warnings that the response from law enforcement could be even more forceful.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he does not support the use of the Insurrection Act, to deploy active-duty forces to quell civil unrest.
However, Esper warned a military response could be an option, but "only in the most urgent and dire of situations".
"The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act."
His comments come after reports that Pentagon officials are increasingly uneasy about the more prominent role of the U.S. military in the Trump administration, not only during the current unrest,.. but also in earlier domestic missions such as border security and law enforcement.
President Trump however, defended his decision to deploy troops to the nation's capital on Wednesday, saying the massive show of force is a model for other states to quell the protests.
Sources also say Trump and other top U.S. officials are "not happy" with Esper's remarks.
However, the White House says "as of now, Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper".
In Minnesota, the three other Minneapolis police officers who were involved in the death of George Floyd have been criminally charged.
The three are charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder.
In addition, Derek Chauvin, the former officer who had already been charged with third-degree murder, will now be charged with second-degree murder.
A second-degree murder charge carries a maximum jail sentence of 40 years upon conviction, compared to 25 years for a third-degree charge, although actual sentences handed down by judges are often short of the maximum.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.