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Mayor declares curfew for Minneapolis rocked with protests against police brutality

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A large group of protesters gathers outside the Hennepin County Government Center on May 28, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (AFP photo)

The mayor of the US city of Minneapolis has declared a strict curfew following three nights of violent protests over the death of a handcuffed black man in police custody.

Mayor Jacob Frey ordered everyone off the city's streets starting at 8 pm (0100 GMT Saturday) until 6 am, excepting law enforcement, fire and medical personnel and national guard troops deployed for peacekeeping.

They can face up to 90 days in jail and a one-thousand dollar fine if they go out at night.

"Being black in America should not be a death sentence," Frey declared at a news conference.

Governor calls for an end to violent protest

Earlier on Friday, the governor of the state of Minnesota called for an end to the violent protests that have rocked Minneapolis.

Tim Walz said he expects “swift” justice for the officers involved in the incident, as angry protests against police brutality rage on for a third night across the US.

He also vowed to address the racial inequities behind the unrest as the demonstrators set cars, buildings and a police precinct ablaze to show their anger at the killing of George Floyd, a black man who was filmed crying out for help as a white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee to his neck.

The 46-year-old black man died on Monday. A video went viral showing him gasping for breath as a white policeman knelt on his neck. The killing has added to longstanding anger over police brutality against black Americans in the US.

"We have to restore order to our society before we can start addressing the issue," Walz told reporters, referring to racial discrimination against African-Americans across the United States. "We cannot have the looting and recklessness that went on."

Governor Walz earlier activated the National Guard to assist police as city, state and federal law enforcement officials sought to ease racial tensions sparked the fatal arrest of Floyd.

"The National Guard has arrived on the scene. They are in Minneapolis and fully prepared. George Floyd will not have died in vain. Respect his memory!!!" US President Donald Trump tweeted. 

More than 500 Guard members were activated and sent to Minneapolis and several surrounding cities. It was the first time the Minnesota National Guard has been activated for a civil disturbance in 34 years.

Trump intensifies his war of words with Twitter

Meanwhile, Trump has intensified a war of words with Twitter for hiding one of his tweets behind a warning that it glorifies violence.

Trump accused Twitter of targeting him and the Republicans. He said the tech giant has turned a blind eye to what he called lies and propaganda put out by China and the Democrats.

“Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party. They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States. Section 230 should be revoked by Congress. Until then, it will be regulated!” he tweeted.

Twitter said Trump’s contentious post violates its rules. In the tweet, Trump seemed to have threatened that people protesting against the death of an unarmed black man could be shot.

Earlier, he signed an executive order undermining legal protections for social media companies for content posted on their platforms. His order came after Twitter flagged two of his posts as potentially misleading.

Trump on Friday also called protesters in Minneapolis “thugs” and vowed that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” after protesters torched a police station.

Protesters set on fire a Minneapolis police station on Thursday in a third straight night of mass protests to express their fury over the death of George Floyd.

“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” he tweeted. “Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

"I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right...," he added.

In the meantime, former president Barack Obama said Friday he shared the "anguish" of millions of Americans over the death of the unarmed black man killed by police.

"This shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America," Obama said of the killing of Floyd and several other recent racial incidents in the US.

"It can't be 'normal,'" he said in a statement.

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