'When the looting starts, the shooting starts': Donald Trump issues threat to Minneapolis protesters

Twitter flagged the post had violated its rules about "glorifying violence", but the tweet would not be removed because it "may be in the public’s interest" for it to remain visible.

Donald Trump and a Minneapolis protester.

Donald Trump and a Minneapolis protester. Source: Getty

US President Donald Trump has warned Minneapolis protesters angered at the police killing of a handcuffed black man that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts".

On Friday, protesters set a police precinct on fire in the third day of demonstrations against the death of 46-year-old George Floyd.

In a series of tweets, Mr Trump described the demonstrators as "thugs".

"Just spoke to [Minnesota] 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," he wrote.

Shortly afterwards, Twitter, which angered Mr Trump this week by tagging one of his tweets for the first time with a fact-check, said the post had violated rules about "glorifying violence".

However, the platform did not remove the post, saying that it "may be in the public’s interest" for it to remain visible.

"This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible," a disclaimer attached to tweet read.

A screenshot of the disclaimer attached to Mr Trump's tweet
Source: Twitter

Hours earlier, Mr Trump adopted a very different tone to the events.

"I feel very, very badly," he said about Mr Floyd's death.

"That's a very shocking sight."

Protestors stand, fists raised, in front of the burning Minneapolis 3rd police precinct.
Source: Getty

Minneapolis police arrested Mr Floyd on Monday on suspicion of using a counterfeit banknote.

Police handcuffed him and held him to the ground, with bystander video showing an officer pressing his knee on Mr Floyd's neck.

The videos showed Mr Floyd saying that he couldn't breathe until he went silent and limp. He was later declared dead.

Minneapolis and neighbouring St Paul have been hit by widespread protests since.

A large fire burns during a third night of unrest following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.
Source: AAP/Star Tribune

Officials have assured angry residents that investigations into Mr Floyd's death were underway, and warned that violence would not be tolerated.

"We know there's a lot of anger. We know there's a lot of hurt," said St Paul Police Chief Todd Axtel.

"But we can't tolerate people using this as an opportunity to commit crimes," he said.

At the request of both cities, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz called up hundreds of National Guard troops and state police to help with security.

Two African American leaders of national stature, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, arrived in Minneapolis and urged more protests.

"We told the governor you must call murder, a murder," Mr Jackson told an audience at the Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.

"When you put ... your foot down somebody's neck until they can't breathe no longer, you murdered them," he said.

The UN human rights chief has condemned the death of Mr Floyd, demanding that US authorities take "serious action" to stop the killings of unarmed African Americans.

Additional reporting: AFP, Evan Young, Nick Baker.

Published 29 May 2020 at 5:12pm, updated 29 May 2020 at 5:38pm
Source: SBS News