US President Donald Trump has branded as “domestic terror” anti-racism protests in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, amid heightening tensions over the shooting of an unarmed African American by a white police officer there.
"These are not acts of peaceful protest but really domestic terror," Trump said after a visit to Kenosha on Tuesday, referring to multiple nights of angry protests in condemnation of US police violence and racial discrimination against people of color.
Trump also promised to increase funding for Kenosha’s police force.
Kenosha has been the scene of fresh wave of protests after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man, multiple times in front of his children during an arrest on August 23.
The shooting of the unarmed African American is said to have left him paralyzed from the waist down, and has since sparked violent rallies in Kenosha as well as other cities across the United States, with protesters setting buildings and cars.
Protesters, accompanied by human rights activists, also demanded accountability for the officers involved.
During Trump’s visit to Kenosha on Tuesday, residents lined the barricaded streets where the president's motorcade passed, with his supporters on one side and Black Lives Matter protesters on the other, shouting at one another from a distance and in sometimes tense face-to-face encounters.
Wisconsin’s Democratic governor and the city's mayor had earlier called on the US president to stay away from Kenosha to avoid escalation.
Trump has sought to link cities and states run by Democrats to lawlessness ahead of the November presidential election.
The US city of Portland, Oregon, has been wracked by daily protests since the May 25 police killing of unarmed African American George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The 46-year-old died after a white officer knelt on his neck and pinned him to the ground for nine minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Tensions in the city intensified in July after the Trump administration deployed federal agents to crack down on the protests.
More than 200 people have been arrested in various cities over protests against police brutality and racism.
Trump claimed that his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, has not disavowed far-left activists accused of civil disorder. The US president has referred to those taking to the streets in across America in recent peaceful anti-racism protesters as rioters, anarchists and thugs.
Floyd’s death ignited the most widespread civil unrest in the US in decades and unleashed protests against police brutality and for racial justice in America and many world countries, rejuvenating the Black Lives Matter movement.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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