Resounding calls from state, community leaders for unity, peaceful protesting, honoring curfew
Saturday afternoon, state and community leaders gathered to discuss ongoing riots and unrest in the Twin Cities.
There were resounding calls from community leaders to unite and hold peaceful protests but to end those protests by the time citywide curfews are enforced.
"We know who we are and we know we must do better," Gov. Tim Walz said at the start of the news conference, addressing the death of George Floyd earlier this week. "We must make equity and inclusion more than buzzwords."
"What we've seen during this week made us dig deep on who we are," Walz continued.
Walz went on to say, "What started out as a community and a state trying to make ourselves better, to demand justice, express righteous anger, has morphed into something very, very different."
State and community leaders called the individuals causing destruction in the Twin Cities "detractors," "anarchists," and "evil-doers."
"These agitators … are hiding behind us, they're using us," community leader Lul Osman said. Imam Asad Zaman echoed those thoughts, urging local community members, "Do not allow them to commit arson and hide among us, using our community as human shields to protect them from law enforcement."
Zaman said, in addition to seeing communities gathering together this week, he saw "another reality on display: Legitimate protests in the process of being hijacked."
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan stated her plea: "Stay home so we can remove those folks harming us, remove those detracting from the memory of George Floyd."
State leaders said justice work cannot be done in the midst of chaos.
"We cannot move forward when people are burning our city, burning our state," Sen. Amy Klobuchar said.
To that end, citywide curfews have been enacted. Gov. Tim Walz also signed an executive order implementing a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday into Sunday. During the curfew, nobody is allowed to travel on Minneapolis or St. Paul streets or public places, except for first responders, members of the media, people going back and forth to work, individuals seeking emergency care or fleeing danger, and people experiencing homelessness.
"We need your help in complying with the curfew," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said. "That's what we're asking for. There are people who are trying to tarnish the reputation of noble protesting."
Walz concluded the news conference, stating, Minnesotans must "use this moment to redefine who we are. This is a decent state. We are not perfect, but we stand together on shared values. This is a message that needs to be heard."
Watch the full news conference via the video player below: