As protests erupt around the country over the death of 46-year-old African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis this week, President Trump on Saturday blamed Antifa and the “radical left” for stirring unrest. Antifa is a left-wing, anti-fascist movement, with activists sometimes engaging in property damage, physical violence and harassment to achieve certain political goals.

Protesters have taken to the streets to express their indignation about Floyd, who died on Monday after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes. So far, the officer, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, but three other officers on the scene have not been charged.

“These are ‘Organized Groups’ that have nothing to do with George Floyd. Sad!” Trump tweeted about the demonstrations. “It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!”

In one tweet, Trump echoed a statement from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz  estimating that 80% of the protesters in Minneapolis on Friday night came from out of state. Journalist Theo Keith at Minneapolis’ Fox 9 news station has reported that most of the arrests on Friday night and Saturday morning were individuals with local Minnesota addresses. 

Attorney General William Barr said Saturday that the Department of Justice would not shy away from prosecuting protesters who cross state lines. He blamed “far-left extremist groups” for the violence.

"Unfortunately, with the rioting that is occurring in many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful protests are being hijacked by violent radical elements," Barr said. "In many places it appears the violence is planned, organized, and driven by far left extremist groups and anarchic groups using Antifa-like tactics.

Some public officials have said other forces could be encouraging violence and looting during the demonstrations.

Minnesota Department of Safety Commissioner John Harrington has said there is evidence of white supremacists inciting violence at the protests. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted that at least three foreign adversaries on social media are stoking racial divisions in the U.S. 

The demonstrations could be exacerbated by rising unemployment amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to the Department of Labor, more than 40.8 million Americans have filed unemployment claims since mid-March.