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COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine granted a request Saturday from leaders in Columbus and Cleveland to mobilize the national gaurd.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan asked the governor to activate the Ohio National Guard to assist in responding to incidents of violence during demonstrations within the City of Columbus.

DeWine also ordered the Ohio State Highway Patrol to help enforce the criminal laws within the city.

"The majority of demonstrators want simply to be heard, and we welcome the voices of the individuals who are focusing attention on the tragic death of George Floyd and on other injustices," the governor said. "But, sadly, these voices calling for justice and change are being drowned out by a smaller group of violent individuals who threaten the safety of the citizens of our community. Acts of violence will not be accepted nor tolerated. This violence must stop.

"I am activating our National Guard to drive out hate and violence and to instill order. This is about the safety of our communities - our neighbors, our families, and our friends. It is about protecting from unnecessary destruction the small businesses that our fellow Ohioans have worked so hard to create. It is also about protecting the First Amendment and creating the environment for peaceful protests so that people can be heard, so that voices are not stifled, so that justice can prevail, and so that love, kindness, compassion, and peace can triumph over hate and violence.

"I understand that people are angry and have pent up rage. I understand that we are living in very uncertain times right now in this country. But it is in these times of uncertainty and division that we must call upon the 'better angels of our nature' and come together as one state and as one people to care for one another, to value one another, and to protect one another."

Mayor Ginther also implemented a city-wide curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning Saturday night.

The full statements made by Governor DeWine, Mayor Ginther, Chief Quinlan, and Adjutant General John C. Harris Jr. can be found on ohiochannel.org.

On Saturday night, DeWine granted a request from Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams to activate the Ohio National Guard to assist in responding to incidents of violence during demonstrations within the City of Cleveland.

"At approximately 6 p.m., I received a call from Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson expressing serious concerns about the safety of Cleveland residents and peace officers following violent demonstrations there this afternoon," the governor said. "As is the case in Columbus, it is believed to be a relatively small group of violent individuals who are drowning out the voices of the many citizens who are peacefully expressing their desire for justice and change.

"In this time of deep anger, sadness, and frustration, we stand with those who are expressing their First Amendment rights, but we will not stand for those who wish to inflict pain and cause destruction."

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