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Gov. DeSantis: 'Zero tolerance' for violence and looting

The governor deployed 100 National Guard members to Tampa following unrest Saturday.
Credit: AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wears a protective face mask as he listens to remarks during a coronavirus news conference Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Sarasota, Fla. Florida has set up a state-run COVID-19 testing site at the University Town Center mall in Sarasota.

TAMPA, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis thanked state and local leaders in an effort to keep people safe during a weekend of unrest and protests after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

The governor, who recently mobilized 100 National Guard members to Tampa, said he's been in touch with leaders across the state and in law enforcement to ensure safety and protect property.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said those Guard members were activated as a "preventative move" to be stationed at different locations across the city considered "high-value" targets of looters and agitators.

Castor added they might, too, move to areas where officials received information of potential vandalism.

RELATED: Polk County extends curfew overnight Monday following weekend protests

RELATED: What you need to know about Tampa's curfew order

In a statement, DeSantis said recent violent activity has no place in Florida.

"Florida has zero tolerance for violence, rioting and looting. George Floyd’s murder was appalling, and the Minnesota perpetrators need to be brought to justice, but this cannot be used as a pretext for violence in our Florida communities.

"I am in constant contact with state and local leaders, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Florida National Guard and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). We have devoted significant resources, including the mobilization of 700 Florida National Guard soldiers who are specially trained to support law enforcement. 

"I have also worked with FHP to coordinate more than 1,300 sworn Florida Highway Patrol troopers to support local law enforcement efforts. We will continue to do everything necessary to keep residents safe," DeSantis' statement reads, in part.

"I thank these leaders for their continued partnership and efforts to keep Floridians safe."

Protests Monday in St. Petersburg have been peaceful as people gather in front of the police department.

RELATED: Live updates: Protesters gather in front of St. Petersburg Police Department

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