Protesters block Mount Rushmore road before Trump visit

Henrietta Strickland
July 5, 2020

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, a Trump ally, has said social distancing won't be required during the event, and masks will be optional.

The president has spoken forcefully against other protesters in Washington, D.C., and other cities who have tried to topple Confederate monuments and statues honoring those who have benefited from slavery. The movement has stemmed from nationwide protests for racial equality following the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., and the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.

"Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children", Trump said. "That is why I am deploying federal law enforcement to protect our monuments, arrest the rioters, and prosecute the offenders to the full extent of the law". "Our country will be greater than ever before".

Trump also lamented "cancel culture", which he described as a "political weapon" used to intimidate dissenters and political opponents, calling it "the very definition of totalitarianism".

"In our schools, our newsrooms and even our boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism", he said. "We've communicated to them that we do not think this is in keeping with the best CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Department of Health guidance", she said. The "Salute" will include a speech that Trump says would celebrate American "heritage".

In response, the crowd erupted in cheers of "USA! United States of America!" and "Four more years!" The demonstration was organized by Native American protesters, according to Lee Strubinger of South Dakota Public Radio.

Mount Rushmore was previously called "The Six Grandfathers" by the Lakota Sioux before it was carved with the presidents' faces. Fireworks were called off after 2009 because a mountain pine beetle infestation increased the fire risks. Fireworks had been banned at the site for more than a decade. Local tribes were also anxious that fireworks at the event could cause wildfires and contaminate water supplies.

In the nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, protesters in several cities have vandalized the statues of Confederate generals that led a rebellion against the United States government during an 1861-65 civil war.

According to the paper, the official, who hasn't so far shown any COVID symptoms, has not been in close proximity to the president of late, and Donald Trump Jr. has tested negative. The virus continues travelling through Texas, Arizona, and other states, with at least seven reporting an uptick in hospitalisations and in the number of tests that show a positive result. "She's doing well, and will be retested to ensure the diagnosis is correct since she's asymptomatic but as a precaution will cancel all upcoming events".

Police officers blocked off streets around the White House, Black Lives Matter Plaza and the Lincoln Memorial, where demonstrators planned to join one of the dozen organized protests in advance of Trump's nighttime address on the South Lawn.

The president also plans for a military flyover and an enormous fireworks display that could see people pack into the city centre.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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