Texas governor declares state of disaster following protests across state

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Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, delivers remarks during a press conference on April 10, 2020, updating the public on the state’s response to COVID-19. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

AUSTIN — Following a string of violent protests across the state, Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for Texas on Sunday.

According to a release, the state of disaster was activated because the violent protests endanger public safety and threaten property loss damage.

Under this declaration, Governor Abbott has the ability to designate federal agents to serve as Texas Peace Officers.

“Every Texan and every American has the right to protest and I encourage all Texans to exercise their First Amendment rights,” said Governor Abbott in the release. “However, violence against others and the destruction of property is unacceptable and counterproductive. As protests have turned violent in various areas across the state, it is crucial that we maintain order, uphold public safety, and protect against property damage or loss.”

Across the nation, protests are taking place in response to the death of George Floyd from Monday’s incident in Minneapolis.

In Texas, protesters have called for an end to police brutality and are seeking justice in Floyd’s case.

The protests have turned violent in times.

In Austin, businesses were looted and vandalized as protesters set fires to buildings, cars, and other parts of the city.

In Dallas and Houston, police sprayed tear gas and shot rubber bullets after protesters blocked highways.

In El Paso, police headquarters were vandalized in the wake of the movement.

Additional protests were staged in areas such as Amarillo and Edinburg but were completed in a peaceful manner.

On Saturday, Governor Abbott activated the National Guard to assist with policing the protests.

The Sunday disaster declaration is another step the governor is taking to police these demonstrations.

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