Did Trump’s approach work? DC protests ‘polite’ after president’s show of force

At one point, the crowd even booed when a protester climbed a light post and took down a street sign. A chant went up: “Peaceful protest!”

By World Israel News Staff and AP

Protesters streamed back into the nation’s streets Tuesday, hours after President Donald Trump pressed governors to put down the violence set off by George Floyd’s death and demanded that New York call up the National Guard to stop the “lowlifes and losers.”

But most protests passed peacefully, and while there were scattered reports of looting in New York City, the country appeared calmer by late Tuesday than it did a day earlier, when violence swept through multiple cities.

The president, meanwhile, amplified his hard-line calls from Monday, when he threatened to send in the military to restore order if governors didn’t do it.

“NYC, CALL UP THE NATIONAL GUARD,” he tweeted. “The lowlifes and losers are ripping you apart. Act fast!”

One day after a crackdown on peaceful protesters near the White House, thousands of demonstrators massed a block away from the presidential mansion, facing 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 White House.

However, while the crowd remained in place after the city’s 7:00 p.m. curfew passed, the protest lacked the tension of the previous nights’ demonstrations.

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The crowd Tuesday was peaceful, even polite, like a child that had misbehaved and, having been punished, learned its lesson. At one point, the crowd even booed when a protester climbed a light post and took down a street sign. A chant went up: “Peaceful protest!”

On Monday, law enforcement officers on foot and horseback aggressively drove protesters away from Lafayette Park, clearing the way for President Donald Trump to walk to nearby St. John’s Church. The walk had been derided as a “photo-op” by mainstream press, but the president and his team had sent a message by visiting the historic church which had been set aflame the night before that lawlessness would no longer be tolerated.

On Tuesday, pastors at the church prayed with demonstrators and handed out water bottles.

Protests ranged across the U.S., including in Los Angeles, Miami, St. Paul, Minnesota, Columbia, South Carolina, and Houston, where the police chief talked to peaceful demonstrators, vowing reforms.

In midtown Manhattan, where police had taken a kid-glove approach to protesters, something Howard Safir, former New York City Police Commissioner, blamed on signals the police were getting from Mayor Bill de Blasio, the streets were pocked with battered storefronts after Monday’s protests.

Macy’s flagship store was among those hit when crowds of people smashed windows and looted stores as they swept through the area. De Blasio extended an 8:00 p.m. curfew through the week. Safir told Fox News that the curfew came three days too late and should have started at 7:00 p.m.

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The 8:00 p.m. curfew in any case didn’t stop emboldened demonstrators, who marched by the thousands through the streets of New York City on Tuesday night.

Even protesters appeared to expect more enforcement from police. “I’m surprised,” said Risha Munoz, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “I didn’t think they were gonna let us go on, but we just kept on moving and we’re not stopping.”

Merchants in Manhattan and Brooklyn boarded up their businesses, fearing a repeat of the night before. Many people remained on the streets after the curfew hour. Police eventually ordered them to move along and began taking some into custody. Police have made close to 700 arrests.

More than 20,000 National Guard members have been called up in 29 states to deal with the violence. New York is not among them, and de Blasio has said he does not want the Guard. On Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo called what happened in the city “a disgrace.”

“The NYPD and the mayor did not do their job last night,” Cuomo said at a briefing in Albany.

He said the mayor underestimated the problem, and the nation’s largest police force was not deployed in sufficient numbers, though the city had said it doubled the usual police presence.

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Tuesday marked the eighth straight night of the protests, which began in Minneapolis, where Floyd died, and quickly spread across the country.

On Monday, scattered violence flared in multiple protests, including an officer who was shot and gravely wounded outside a Las Vegas hotel and casino, and four officers shot in St. Louis. They were expected to recover.

About a dozen other deaths have been reported around the country over the past week. And nearly 8,000 people nationwide have been arrested, according to a count by The Associated Press.