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Democratic Nashville Mayor John Cooper urged “colleagues in the Metro Council” and others to join him at a rally held by Black Lives Matter supporters hours before some of the same demonstrators allegedly set fire to portions of city hall and a historic courthouse.
“I urge all of my colleagues in the Metro Council to join me at today’s ‘I Will Breathe’ rally,” Cooper wrote on Twitter.
“This is an especially critical time for all of us, as Metro’s leaders, to show up and listen to Black voices speaking out from across Davidson County,” he continued, citing their need to “speak out against the senseless killing” of Minneapolis resident George Floyd “and the deep-seated issues of racial injustice in our country.”
I urge all of my colleagues in the Metro Council to join me at today's “I Will Breathe” rally. This is an especially critical time for all of us, as Metro’s leaders, to show up and listen to Black voices speaking out from across Davidson County. pic.twitter.com/6PToIvbW6y
— Mayor John Cooper (@JohnCooper4Nash) May 30, 2020
A few hours later, rioters had set fire to a courthouse building where the city hall is co-located, as the demonstration turned destructive and violent. In addition, police vehicles were attacked and destroyed, according to reports.
Later, Cooper seemed to have a change of heart as he condemned the violence and destruction at the courthouse, especially, while implementing a curfew, calling for National Guard assistance, and promising to arrest and prosecute offending rioters.
A message from Mayor John Cooper. pic.twitter.com/GKyKRftnIy
— Mayor John Cooper (@JohnCooper4Nash) May 31, 2020
Nevertheless, his message fell on many deaf ears.
This is leadership?? You came across with all the strength and inspiration of a librarian sheepishly asking someone to return an overdue book. Disgrace.
— ColonelGruber (@ColonelGruber) May 31, 2020
You’re everything that’s wrong for Nashville. pic.twitter.com/HCw7nzi7GK
— UAintBlackJoe (@uaintblackjoe) May 31, 2020
— GrumpyAttorney (@grumpy_attorney) May 31, 2020
Some Nashville residents took to Twitter to alert President Donald Trump and to blast Cooper.
@realDonaldTrump Nashville downtown is under attack.Our liberal mayor Cooper is allowing our court house to be burned.Police cars to be destroyed.THIS MUST STOP.
!OUR NATION GUARD NEEDS TO BE DEPLOYED!!!! pic.twitter.com/oyLQu8EC26
— Keith Washington (@KeithnNashville) May 31, 2020
A state of emergency was just declared and 10pm curfew enforced finally. Fingers crossed this doesn’t flare up again. Protesters, confirmed, post-rally were not peaceful and provoked violence. This is complete shit. #NashvilleProtest
— 𒀰 𒄤 𒀮 𒀯 (@ohfuschia) May 31, 2020
Scores of violent riots have broken out in many major cities around the country, though it’s becoming clearer that at least some of them are being fomented by militants and anarchists outside of those cities who are using the Floyd incident to cause general mayhem.
In Minneapolis, for instance, where outrage over Floyd’s death began, officials say that Left-wing anarchist groups are largely responsible for the destructive riots and that Right-wing groups are not yet in evidence, as some Democrats have suggested, including Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
Security consultant and former British Army counterterrorism officer Adam Leggat told USA Today that according to his intelligence sources on the ground, most of the agitators are far-Left radicals and that Right-wing white supremacists are not in abundance.
“The real hard-core guys, this is their job: They’re involved in this struggle,” Leggat told the paper.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said Saturday that many people around the country involved in destroying and torching property are using “Antifa-like tactics,” a reference to the Left-wing anarchist group that has used protests and demonstrations for years as excuses to attack political opponents and ransack urban regions.
“Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda,” he said. “In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized, and driven by anarchistic and far-left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from out of state to promote the violence.”
Barr then made clear “it is a federal crime to cross state lines or to use interstate facilities to incite or participate in violent rioting. We will enforce these laws.”
President Donald Trump echoed his attorney general.
“Crossing State lines to incite violence is a FEDERAL CRIME! Liberal Governors and Mayors must get MUCH tougher or the Federal Government will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests. Thank you!” Trump wrote Saturday.
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