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"I'm mobilising the military." President Donald Trump just declared war on his citizens.

Just hours ago, on Monday evening US Eastern Time, President Donald Trump addressed the nation.

It has been six days since George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minnesota. Protests have spread across the country, with hundreds of cities staging their own demonstrations. Tensions have escalated between protesters and police, with more than 4400 people arrested and several dead. The National Guard has been deployed in 23 states, and curfews have been implemented in dozens of cities across the US. This level of civil unrest is something unseen in the US since the 1968 assassination of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

Trump’s live broadcast began with an assurance that for George Floyd and his family, justice will be served.

Watch some of Donald Trump’s address regarding the nationwide protests. Post continues below. 

“He will not have died in vain, but we cannot allow the righteous cries and peaceful protesters to be drown out by an angry mob,” he said, before announcing that he was deploying the military on his own people.

He said he has, “strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers, that we dominate the streets, mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled.

“If a city or state refuses to take the actions are are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.

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“As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property… We will end it now.”

Trump referred to himself as an “ally of peaceful protesters”, and as he made his way to St. John’s Church for photographs, it’s reported that hundreds of peaceful demonstrators were targeted by police who used tear gas.

Reports indicate that during Trump’s speech, police used rubber bullets and flash bangs on peaceful protesters surrounding the White House.

It has also been reported that on Monday, Trump instructed national security officials and top police: “You’ve got to arrest people, you have to track people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again.”

In a leaked call obtained by The New York TimesTrump told governors: “You have to dominate… If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time – they’re going to run over you, you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks.”

Trump’s response comes after tensions rose over the weekend in Washington DC. On Sunday night, the White House was surrounded by barricades, police officers dressed in riot gear, deliberately lit fires, and swarms of demonstrators. According to The Washington Post, water bottles were thrown at police, and they responded with tear gas, making it difficult for protesters to breathe.

A fire broke out in the basement of St. John’s, a historic 19th-century episcopal church. The fire department eventually put it out, reportedly before there was significant damage.

Office buildings had their windows smashed, with stores like Nordstrom Rack looted by civilians.

As the 11pm curfew approached, the lights in the White House were switched off.

It has been reported that on Friday night, President Trump and his family were rushed to the White House bunker by the Secret Service, as crowds gathered at the gates. They stayed there for less than an hour.

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