Evers steps up National Guard presence to quell violence during protests

A flag flies over a department of corrections building ablaze during protests, late Monday,...
A flag flies over a department of corrections building ablaze during protests, late Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis., sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha Police officer a day earlier. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)(Morry Gash | AP)
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 2:02 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Wisconsin National Guard will step up its presence Tuesday night in an attempt to quell the violence that has plagued Kenosha since the shooting of a Black man by one of its officers over the weekend. Demonstrations also turned destructive in Madison overnight as many downtown businesses were damaged and multiple fires started.

“(T)here remains a line between peaceful assembly and what we saw last night that put individuals, families, and businesses in danger,” Evers said while announcing the increased activation of the state Guard. On Monday, he sent 125 soldiers to Kenosha to quell the violence there. However, violent demonstrations still proceeded well into the night. Like the previous day, Evers noted Tuesday that these troops will be tasked with protecting state buildings and infrastructure as well as supporting first responders and ensuring others can protest peacefully.

“The ability to exercise First Amendment rights is a critically important part of our democracy and the pursuit of justice,” he implored. “Tonight, and in the days ahead, if you are going to protest, please do so peacefully and safely.”

In his statement, Evers acknowledged the reason behind these latest protests and described the past two days of demonstrations, along with the protests earlier this year as reaction to “the pain, anguish, and exhaustion of being Black in our state and country.” He continued by saying that the cycle of systemic racism and injustice needs to end, adding however, “(w)e also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction.”

“Please do not allow the actions of a few distract us from the work we must do together to demand justice, equity, and accountability,” he concluded.

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