Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday night joined several other states in mobilizing the amid protests and riots that have broken out across the country in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody earlier this week.
Abbott activated the Saturday night, saying: “Texans have every right to exercise their first amendment rights, but violence and looting will not be tolerated.”
Abbott’s move comes amid protests and riots in Austin and Dallas.
Abbott joined Utah, Ohio and Washington state in bringing in the National Guard to aid law enforcement.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, on Saturday night, tweeted that Utah “condemns violence and looting.”
“I have activated the National Guard to help control the escalating situation in downtown Salt Lake City,” Herbert tweeted. “I once again call on all who are protesting to do so peacefully.”
Earlier Saturday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine also called to service the Ohio National Guard “to help protect the citizens of Ohio.”
Protests erupted in Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio Saturday. Ohio Democratic D-Ohio, attended a protest earlier in the day Saturday and was sprayed with pepper spray by law enforcement officers.
"In this time of deep anger, sadness, and frustration, we stand with those who are expressing their First Amendment rights, but we will not stand for those who wish to inflict pain and cause destruction," DeWine tweeted.
Meanwhile, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee “activated 200 members” at the request of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.
"They will be unarmed and assist with infrastructure protection and crowd movement," Inslee said in a statement Saturday. "They will only be utilized if absolutely necessary and we appreciate their efforts to help in this important work."
The activation of the National Guard in states across the nation comes after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz already announced early Saturday that he authorized the “full mobilization” of the state’s National Guard in response to violent riots in the state.
Minnesota’s National Guard is composed of more than 13,000 soldiers, according to the Guard’s 2019 annual report.
Floyd’s death Monday has sparked unrest across the U.S., from New York City to Washington, D.C., to Chicago to Los Angeles. Four Minneapolis police officers were fired Monday, while the officer seen kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes before he eventually died, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Fox News’ Barnini Chakraborty, Dom Calicchio, Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.