De Blasio downplays 'anarchist, criminal' elements of protests, says majority of NYC wasn't looted

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the city's response to the rioting that took place in Manhattan, saying that the "anarchist" and "criminal" elements of the George Floyd protests were very small in comparison to the peaceful demonstrators.

De Blasio began by acknowledging it had been a "tough few days" but stressed that the 8 p.m. curfew that he had placed on Tuesday night has made a big difference versus the 11 p.m. curfew on Monday in addition to the higher police presence, believing it's the "right approach."

DE BLASIO SLAMMED FOR HALTING PRAYER GATHERINGS BUT NOT PROTESTS; CITES '400 YEARS OF AMERICAN RACISM'

"We had a troubling situation in Midtown Manhattan and in the Bronx, but we had no unrest, no looting in Brooklyn and in Queens and Staten Island and most of the Bronx and most of Manhattan and I really want to set that straight," De Blasio said.

"We thought we had a measured plan and suddenly this very coordinated criminal activity in Midtown Manhattan made the adjustment to go to the earlier curfew," he explained to CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night. "It's a very different ball game. ... If you had asked me on Saturday if we had a need for a curfew, we hadn't seen any looting on Saturday."

The mayor defended his decision not to invite the National Guard, insisting they aren't prepared to be in an "environment" like New York City.

GET THE FOX NEWS APP

"In general, I want to be clear, overwhelming the protests have been peaceful," De Blasio stressed. "There's a small anarchist group that's been violent and there's a small criminal element that's been violent, but you're talking about an infinitesimal percentage compared to the overwhelming majority of protesters who have been peaceful."