Nationwide protests over the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd have left the country off balance. But the peaceful marches against police brutality and racism were overshadowed by riots that saw buildings burned, businesses looted, and people injured.
Many of the protesters have denounced the violence as being committed by perpetrators who are simply looking to capitalize on the moment by inciting anarchy and destruction. Some have blamed Antifa, the far-left militant movement that President Trump wants to designate a terrorist organization. Others, like Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, have blamed “white supremacists” and “out-of-state instigators.”
But despite the denunciations of bad actors, many of the signs accompanying these protests cast doubt on a unifying, peaceful message.
Among the more straightforward signs like “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe,” can be found more incendiary references against law enforcement.
For instance, the acronym “ACAB” has been spotted at different protests, whether graffitied onto buildings or written on placards. The acronym stands for “All Cops Are Bastards” and has been around since at least the 1970s. It has been widely used throughout Europe during protests.
Some signs have called for defunding or abolishing the police – an idea that has been gaining traction long before the death of George Floyd.
Others have been less “diplomatic” with their signs, like those that say “F— the police,” or the variant, “My Dad Said F— The Police.”
Though the movement may intend to be peaceful, law enforcement agencies were bracing for another night of unrest on Tuesday.
President Trump has turned up the pressure on governors to quell the violence, demanding New York call up the National Guard to stop the “lowlifes and losers.” Earlier Trump had threatened to send in the military to restore order if governors didn’t do it.
More than 20,000 National Guard members have been called up in 29 states to deal with the violence. Monday marked the seventh straight night of unrest around the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.