US President Donald Trump has vowed to deploy "thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers" to stop the unrest in the capital and other cities if local administrations refuse to take the action against demonstrators who were protesting over the death of African-American man, George Floyd.
Speaking to the media on Monday at the White House, Trump said "I am your President of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protests", but was "taking immediate presidential action to stop the violence and restore security and safety in America" because the country needed "cooperation not contempt, security not anarchy, healing not hatred, justice not chaos", reports Efe news.
"I am mobilizing all available, federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans," he said.
His remarks came as some 40 cities across the US, including Washington D.C., have imposed curfews to curb acts of violence in extensive demonstrations against police brutality and racism.
President Trump’s threat came after a call with the state governors where he recommended heavy-handed tactics to stop protestors and rioters. Some of these statements have not gone down well with the police, with the Houston Police Chief voicing his concerns as well.
According to an article in The Drive, “More than 17,000 National Guard personnel are now deployed across 23 states and Washington, D.C. to support state and local police in responding to developing situations in their jurisdictions. Federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Customs and Border Protection, have also been involved.
In a statement, the CBP said, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has deployed uniformed personnel from throughout the National Capital Region to CBP Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This action is necessary to support our law enforcement partners in their efforts to prevent any further civil unrest in the D.C area. It is our sincere hope that local protests remain peaceful and without incident. Our brave CBP agents, officers and operators stand ready to assist in protecting our law enforcement partners from any lawless rioting, domestic acts of terrorism, and other criminal activities. CBP will do our part to prevent any harm to citizens and the destruction of property.”
However, the question arises: Is the US Military allowed to maintain law and order or is that the role of the police?
According to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, the US Military is barred from deploying within the United States or performing domestic law enforcement functions. However, an earlier Act, the Insurrection Act of 1807, allows the President of the United States to send troops to ‘respond to any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy” that “opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.”
The President may invoke the Insurrection Act without consulting Congress, but must do so through a formal proclamation that gives individuals in the affected area or areas time to disperse and return to their homes.
Trump has not done this as yet, and it is likely that he may face opposition from states. This is because the law clearly states: “Whenever there is an insurrection [as defined by the Act] in any state against its government, the president may, upon the request of its legislature or of its governor if the legislature cannot be convened, call into Federal service such of the militia of the other States, in the number requested by that State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to suppress the insurrection."
However, as the person who calls the shots in Washington DC, Trump has managed to deploy federal troops in the national capital.
With IANS Inputs