Attorney General Barr says foreign groups, extremists stoking divisions in U.S. protests


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General William Barr stated on Thursday that foreign pursuits and “extremist agitators” tied to the Antifa motion have tried to take advantage of nationwide protests over the most recent in a protracted sequence of killings of black males by white law enforcement officials.

Barr’s statements got here three days after an inside intelligence evaluation produced by the Department of Homeland Security and seen by Reuters discovered that many of the violence on the protests appeared to have been carried out by opportunists, not organized extremists.

While Barr and Republican President Donald Trump have centered blame on Antifa, a loosely organized anti-fascist motion, federal prosecutors in Las Vegas on Wednesday charged three members of the far-right “Boogaloo” motion with planning to trigger violence and destruction throughout protests.

“We have seen evidence that Antifa and other similar extremist groups, as well as actors of a variety of different political persuasions, have been involving in instigating and participating in violent activity,” Barr stated at a information convention.

Barr additionally defended his determination to forcefully push peaceable protesters again from the White House on Monday night, saying rioting had gotten uncontrolled over the weekend.

Clearing the protesters allowed Trump to stage a photograph alternative at a close-by historic church, the place a hearth set in the course of the earlier mayhem did minor injury.

“We decided that we needed more of a buffer to protect the White House,” Barr stated.

The legal professional common has been criticized for his determination to make use of power on the protests over the dying of George Floyd by calling in a variety of federal brokers to guard the White House and different landmarks after demonstrations in Washington turned violent.

The federal brokers referred to as in to guard the White House embody riot-control groups from the federal Bureau of Prisons, who’ve been noticed in uniforms with out badges or different identification, not like different law enforcement officials.

Bureau Director Michael Carvajal stated these brokers usually don’t put on figuring out materials on the job, and acknowledged he “probably should have done a better job of marking them nationally.”

In a letter to Trump, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, referred to as the presence of unidentified officers and U.S. army on the streets of Washington “alarming.”

The Democrat instructed reporters that her daughter, Alexandra, had been current when the federal brokers performing on Barr’s orders cleared Lafayette Park close to the White House of protesters.

“She thought she had tear gas in her eyes because she was incapacitated for a while and she called me after,” Pelosi stated.

The American Civil Liberties Union and different teams filed a lawsuit in Washington on Thursday on behalf of the protesters looking for an order declaring that Trump, Barr and different officers violated their constitutional rights.

“When the nation’s top law enforcement officer becomes complicit in the tactics of an autocrat, it chills protected speech for all of us,” stated Scott Michelman, ACLU authorized director in the District of Columbia.

Barr stated foreign teams are additionally utilizing social media disinformation campaigns like these mounted by Russia in the course of the 2016 presidential election to widen divisions in U.S. society.

“Some of the foreign hackers and groups that are associated with foreign governments are focusing in on this particular situation we have here, and trying to exacerbate it in every way they can,” he stated.

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: U.S. Attorney General William Barr awaits the arrival of President Donald Trump to addresses the coronavirus response day by day briefing on the White House in Washington, U.S., March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Barr stated federal brokers have made 51 arrests up to now for prices involving violence.

He stated 114 regulation enforcement officers have been injured in protests in Washington and 22 have been hospitalized.

Authorities are investigating seven fires set in violent protests in Washington over the weekend, and one particular person has been arrested and charged, stated Regina Lombardo, performing director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Richard Chang

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



Source link reuters.com

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