Trump Takes Aim at Protests As Facebook Apologizes: Protest Wrap

President Donald Trump took aim at people protesting racism and police brutality, saying they are “just looking for trouble” and don’t know about the killing of a Black man at the hands of police in Minneapolis that led to demonstrations nationally.

“They’re not protesters,” Trump said Friday at a rally at the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire. “Those are anarchists, they’re agitators, they’re rioters, they’re looters.”

The comments came as thousands gathered Friday at the Lincoln Memorial to demand racial equality and criminal justice reform in what they called the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” march on the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech.”

The event in Washington set the stage for a weekend of protests planned in Chicago and other cities. Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, addressed the crowd by video, quoting the late Congressman John Lewis: “As John put it, ‘Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor.’”

Counterprotests by right-wing groups were also planned Saturday in Portland, Oregon and Asheville, N.C.

The latest protests came after a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back last Sunday. Two nights later, two protesters were killed and a third was injured in a subsequent shooting. A hearing to extradite the 17-year-old suspect in that case, Kyle Rittenhouse, from his home state of Illinois to Wisconsin was delayed for 30 days. CNN also reported Friday that handcuffs restraining Blake to a hospital bed have been removed.

The Kenosha police said Friday they tried to stun Blake with tasers after multiple attempts to arrest him. When that failed, he walked around his car, opened the driver’s side door and leaned forward. While holding on to Blake’s shirt, the officer fired the shots. Blake said he had a knife in his possession, according to the police. The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, which is handling the probe, also recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of the vehicle, it said.

Some protesters who stayed on after the march in the nation’s capital Friday eventually ended up in tussles with the police, temporarily shutting down major roads including the Key Bridge and the Whitehurst Freeway, Washington Post reported.

In Portland, about a dozen protesters gathered in the lobby of Mayor Ted Wheeler’s condominium Friday night, the Oregonian reported. More than 150 more were on the street outside the building, demanding a reduction in the police budget and the resignation of the mayor and police commissioner, the newspaper said.

Facebook Apologizes

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Friday the company was too slow to remove a page that violated its policy on dangerous organizations in the hours leading up to the deadly shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The company eventually took down the page, titled “Kenosha Guard,” for violating Facebook policies around militia organizations, according to a spokeswoman.

The move resulted in #DeleteFacebook trending on Twitter.

NBA Playoffs

Trump also rebuked professional sports athletes and teams for canceling games to protest racial injustice and said that the National Basketball Association “is going to destroy basketball.”

“You know when you watch sports, you want to relax, but this is a whole different world,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday night after the campaign rally. ”It’s terrible. I think what they’re doing to the NBA in particular is going to destroy basketball.”

The NBA playoffs will resume on Saturday after players sat out games in protest against the Blake shooting. In announcing the agreement, National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league would form a social justice coalition to focus on voting access, civic engagement and advocating for police and criminal justice reform.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Boston Celtics star Enes Kanter compared the unrest in the U.S. with upheaval in his native Turkey several years ago. He lamented America’s political polarization. “Our goal should be the same,” he said, “what can we do to make this country better together.”

The Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics also walked off the field after a moment of silence, choosing not to play Friday night, the AP said.

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