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'Most Complex Public Safety Operation In The History Of Our State': Walz Deployed 5,025 National Guard Soldiers Saturday Night

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Curfew went into effect in the metro area at 8 p.m. Saturday, and after four nights of unrest throughout the Twin Cities, the fifth night saw an unprecedented number of Minnesota National Guard sweeping the streets.

As of Sunday morning, more than 5,025 soldiers had been activated, with more plans to continue activation within the coming days.

According to a press release by the Minnesota National Guard, "it was with strength and full integration with civil authorities which changed the tone Saturday night around the Twin Cities."

However throughout the night, communities also gathered together to protect local businesses from the fires and lootings of the days before.

"I want to thank everyone who participated in our ability to restore trust in our streets," Gov. Walz said at a Sunday morning press conference. He said he appreciated the actions of the community, those who stayed home, the national guard, and first responders.

Throughout the night, there was no looting, no rioting, and a limited number of fires.

RELATED: Click here for the latest surrounding the death of George Floyd.

On Saturday evening, Minnesota's public safety group and the Minnesota National Guard came together to take a different approach on keeping the peace, according to Walz. He called it the "most complex public safety operation in the history of our state."

The group created teams throughout the Twin Cities area, developing 10 fast-strike teams and 10 mobile force units with 100 people each - with the goal of removing people who were breaking curfew.

As of 2:30 a.m., 25 arrests were made in Hennepin County and about 30 were made in Ramsey County, according to Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington. Since then more arrests have been made, with numbers to be released soon.

A large number of the arrests made throughout the night were for weapons violations. Harrington said that some were arrested in stolen vehicles without license plates; when officers opened the doors, they found rocks and weapons.

About 20% of the people arrested originated from out of state including Kansas City, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan.

RELATED: 'We Are In A Position Of Strength Tonight': Minnesota National Guard Aggressively Clear Streets; Neighbors Defend Minneapolis Businesses

Larger police presence has also been criticized, as a video surfaced Saturday evening of police firing markers at a woman standing on her porch. "These aren't particularly pretty actions that we take," said Minnesota State Patrol Chief Matthew Langer. He said that officials are constantly looking to improve training and practices.

Walz took full responsibility for the actions of officers on Saturday night, saying "those officers were out there under my direction, which makes me accountable for making sure those things are investigated."

He also said he understood the criticism of extensive military presence - especially when protests were incited by the killing of unarmed Black man George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Walz said he took responsibility for the detention of journalists - including veteran WCCO photojournalist Tom Aviles - calling it "unacceptable." Aviles has since been released from custody.

Looking forward to Sunday evening, Walz has extended the curfew and shutdown of major highways. Curfew will begin at 8 p.m. and end at 6 a.m.

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