Protests nationwide are becoming increasingly violent, "rattling communities facing a toxic mix of partisanship and guns ahead of the 2020 election," Tim Craig reports for The Washington Post. The demonstrations are mainly about police brutality, and began after the death of George Floyd, but often encompass a wider range of left-versus-right issues such as Confederate statues.
"People on both sides of the United States’ political and cultural divide have been filmed exchanging punches, beating one another with sticks and flagpoles, or standing face-to-face with weapons, often with police appearing to be little more than observers," Craig reports, citing two days in Texas.
"The country’s hostile political climate has challenged local police departments, especially in small towns unaccustomed to dealing with protests and large crowds of people who hold opposing political views," Craig reports. "Police agencies face accusations that they are not doing enough to protect social-justice and anti-brutality protesters."
|A video still shows Hank Gilbert campaign manager Ryan Miller getting punched|
during a protest in Tyler, Texas. (Photo provided to Tyler Morning Telegraph)
"It seems like we as a country have moved right past the discussion phase of things and now we just are at the stage of conflict, being at odds, distrust and disbelief,” Arnold told Craig. "This is not who we are, and it’s almost like we are living in a different time and a different place."