As a coalition of law enforcement and National Guard members reacted to a fourth night of protests, buildings being set ablaze and more looting of Minneapolis businesses, further steps were announced after 1 a.m. Saturday to bolster the Guard's numbers in the Twin Cities.
"Governor Walz authorized the National Guard to increase our strength by 1,000 soldiers to support civil authorities," said Minnesota's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen.
Last night, an additional 200 soldiers were activated, bringing the total to more than 700 soldiers and airmen on state active duty just before midnight, according to a press release from the National Guard.
It was repeat performance of vandalism, looting and arson that appeared to catch state officials off guard again Friday night. A widely-publicized curfew that was enacted at 8 p.m. was essentially ignored by thousands of protesters throughout Minneapolis.
One hot spot was near the Minneapolis Police 5th Precinct building just west of 35W on 31st Street. Although it was not surrendered to protesters, buildings around it were looted and set on fire. Eventually, around 11:30 p.m., the National Guard, along with local law enforcement, arrived and a large crowd dispersed. But by then buildings were fully engulfed in flames and looters had scurried off with armfuls of products, including U.S. Mail packages from the nearby Post Office.
Guard soldiers escorted Minneapolis Fire Department teams on numerous missions and soldiers provided security at traffic control points at Nicollet Mall in support of the State Patrol.
This represents the largest domestic deployment in the Minnesota's National Guard's 164-year history, according to the Guard.
Soldiers and Airmen of the 34th Military Police Company in Stillwater, 257th Military Police Company in Monticello, 1-151st Field Artillery Battalion headquartered in Montevideo, 147th Human Resources Company in Brooklyn Park, 224th Transportation Company in Faribault, and 133rd Airlift Wing are involved in this deployment.