By Adam Sexton
Governor calls social injustice message of protests very important; says violence, looting, rioting will not be condoned.
CONCORD, N.H. —
Gov. Chris Sununu expressed solidarity Monday with peaceful protesters who are outraged by racial injustice, but he said he’s also preparing the state police and National Guard in case there’s any violence.
After a weekend of protests — some peaceful, some violent — over the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Sununu said New Hampshire stands with peaceful protesters who are speaking out against racial injustice, but he said he also has to prepare for the possibility of violent unrest.
“So, we have been in contact with state police, local law enforcement, the men and women of the National Guard, Maj. Gen. David Mikolaities, all aspects of the community that need to be on the front lines in terms of just being aware of the situations,” Sununu said.
Before the massive peaceful protest in Manchester over the weekend, the governor called organizers to voice his support. He said there’s a difference between the people gathering peacefully during the day versus what’s happening in some cities, where police clashed violently with protesters amid looting and vandalism.
On a call with governors Monday, President Donald Trump encouraged them to “dominate” protesters. When asked, Sununu said he doesn’t feel the need to do that.
“Speaking for myself, no, I don’t feel anyone needs to be dominated,” he said. “If anything, I think here in New Hampshire, we’ve shown working together in a very constructive and peaceful way is clearly a pathway to success.”
The governor said any protests that turn violent will be dealt with appropriately.
“Racism has no home here, will not be tolerated anywhere in New Hampshire, and neither does violence or looting or rioting,” he said.
Sununu also rejected any comparison of the Floyd protests and protests against the stay-at-home order, saying issues of racial injustice run far deeper. He said anyone who makes that comparison is “missing the point.”
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