Twitter hides Donald Trump's tweet about George Floyd riots for 'glorifying violence'


Twitter has hidden a Donald Trump tweet for glorifying violence amid riots in the city of Minneapolis after the police death of George Floyd.

Calling the rioters "thugs", the US president threatened "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" and offered to send in armed soldiers.

Met with immediate backlash, Trump's "shooting" threat was borrowed from a Florida police chief who declared "war" and pledged a violent reprisal on black people in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1967.

The tweet violated rules against "glorifying violence" and Twitter hid the message behind a disclaimer and banned likes based on fears the president's threat could inspire further acts of violence.

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Protesters gather in front of a liquor store in flames in Minneapolis (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

It came as the third night of protests in the US city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, gave way to arson, gunfire, looting and vandalism, with a police station and several shops being torched.

It also came amid a row between Trump and Twitter after the social media platform fact-checked two of his tweets.

Trump responded on Thursday by signing an executive order giving regulators the power to pursue legal action against sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

National Guard troops were already on the streets of Minneapolis in the early hours of Friday morning in a bid to restore order as many scenes of unrest went unchecked following fresh clashes between protesters and police.
The president's tweets sparked an immediate backlash as many called for calm and peace (Image: realDonaldTrump/Twitter)
Trump used a quote coined by a Florida police chief more than 50 years ago (Image: @ColtonLochhead /Twitter)

As shops were ransacked and several buildings burned to the ground, Trump tweeted: "I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis.

"A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right."

He added: "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen.

"Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way.

"Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"

The president's tweets sparked an immediate backlash as many called for calm and peace in the Midwest city.

The rapper Ice T tweeted: "This MF said.. 'When the looting starts, the shooting starts...' Unbelievable."
A police station was destroyed by arsonists on the third night of protests (Image: REUTERS)
Protesters react after setting fire to the entrance of a police station (Image: REUTERS)

Twitter hid the tweet, saying it glorified violence.

The tweet was replaced with a message reading: "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

People could still see the tweet by clicking "View".

A spokesman for Twitter wrote in a thread: "We have placed a public interest notice on this Tweet from @realdonaldtrump.

"We've taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance.

"As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it."

Trump's "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" quote was borrowed from Miami Police Chief Walter Headley, who declared "war" and vowed to respond with violence against black people in poor and crime-hit neighbourhoods in 1967.
The police station was abandoned before it was stormed and set on fire by rioters (Image: REUTERS)

Headley armed his officers with shotguns and dogs as they patrolled the neighbourhoods.

Civil rights groups at the time accused the police chief of racist demagoguery.

Minnesota's governor had already activated the National Guard to help restore order in Minneapolis.

Trump's tweets were read to Mr Frey, the mayor of Minneapolis, during a press conference that began around 1.30am local time on Friday.
Police officers face protesters in St Paul, Minnesota, earlier on Thursday (Image: REUTERS)
A woman reacts on a street as tear gas is used by riot police to disperse protesters (Image: REUTERS)

The mayor replied: "Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis.

"We are strong as hell. Is this a difficult time period? Yes.

"But you better be damn sure we're gonna get through this."

Peaceful protests and riots were sparked by Monday night's fatal arrest of Mr Floyd, 46, an unarmed black man seen on video gasping for breath while a white police officer knelt on his neck for about eight minutes.

Four city police officers involved in the incident, including Derek Chauvin, 44, the one shown pressing his knee into Mr Floyd's neck as he lay on the ground, moaning, "please, I can't breathe," were fired from their jobs on Tuesday.

He was being detained after he allegedly tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a shop called Cup Foods.

The FBI is investigating the in-custody death and no one has been charged as of Friday morning.

Mr Floyd's family and activists have called for the officers to be charged with murder.

Protests have taken place in cities across the US, including New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Denver.