“The North Dakota National Guard is ready to assist local authorities to protect lives, property and critical infrastructure, preserve peace, and ensure public safety,” a North Dakota National Guard spokesman told ABC News. “We have a company-sized element from the 131 Military Police Battalion supporting this mission. Roughly 160 Soldiers.”
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on Wednesday announced he would activate the National Guard troops after credible threats were received. He did not elaborate.
Meanwhile, the Fargo mayor’s office made the call on Wednesday to activate troops.
“Based on received threats, Fargo City Hall, the downtown Fargo Public Library and Fargo Municipal Court will be fully closed on Friday with all employees working remotely,” the city of Fargo said in a statement ahead of the demonstrations. “The North Dakota National Guard has been activated to protect public infrastructure.”
Mayor Tim Mahoney said that following discussions, “We all want tomorrow’s event to be peaceful, productive and a celebration.”
Several organizations will partake in the event on Friday at a local park that is intended to be a community event, adding that no protesters will be allowed to block transportation in the city.
“The City will not tolerate violent acts targeting any individuals or property. The department will continually monitor any threats. We believe threats may exist but we don’t have information suggesting there are specific targets regarding downtown businesses,” the city said in a statement Thursday. “Business and property owners may make their own decisions as to what precautions they believe are best for them.” Business and property owners may make their own decisions as to what precautions they believe are best for them.”
It came after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced the National Guard will be sent to Clay County, noting that local law enforcement has become aware of “threats that violent activities during demonstrations planned in North Dakota could spill into nearby Minnesota communities.”
“The Minnesota National Guard stands ready to provide protection for all Minnesotans,” Walz added in a statement. “While Minnesotans turn their attention to rebuilding our communities and reexamining racial inequities in the wake of George Floyd’s death, our administration is committed to providing protection for our neighborhoods, businesses, and families in order for those meaningful conversations to happen.”
He also didn’t elaborate on the threat.
At demonstration sites around the country, meanwhile, protesters said the quieter mood is the result of several factors: the new and upgraded criminal charges against the police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest; a more conciliatory approach by police who have marched with them or taken a knee to recognize their message; and the realization that the burst of rage after Floyd’s death is not sustainable.
There were still skirmishes in the Bronx and elsewhere. In Buffalo, a police commissioner suspended two officers after video from WBFO showed a man being shoved after walking up to police as they were enforcing a curfew Thursday night. The man appeared to hit his head on the pavement and blood leaked out as officers walk past. The man was hospitalized.