Barr: Violent protests driven by 'far-left extremist groups'

Movement is being 'hijacked by violent radical elements'

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Attorney General William Barr
Attorney General William Barr
(Pool/Getty)
Updated: May 30, 2020 - 7:41pm

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Attorney General William Barr on Saturday said that the violent protests across the country are being driven by "far-left extremist groups," echoing comments from President Trump that hardline progressive factions are taking advantage of the backlash generated by the death of George Floyd. 

Floyd was killed Monday in Minneapolis after he was violently arrested by police officers, with one officer kneeling on his neck while Floyd screamed "I can't breathe!" His subsequent death has touched off a series of lootings, major arson events and clashes with police in cities across the country. 

Barr at a Saturday press conference said the activist reactions to Floyd's death are being "hijacked by violent radical elements."

"Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda," he said, claiming that "in many places it appears the violence is planned, organized and driven by anarchic and far left extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from outside the state to promote the violence."

Those remarks echoed comments made in a tweet by President Trump on Saturday. "It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!" he said. 

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