Street protests in downtown Los Angeles Friday night resulted in the arrest of more than 500 people, as police battled to clear the streets after a night of violence that saw at least two LAPD vehicles set on fire.
Protesters physically battled police, smashed windows, looted and set items on fire during the confrontation, which lasted until the early morning hours on Saturday. An unlawfu assembly order was issued at 9:30 PM on Friday for all of downtown.
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Four LAPD members were injured on the night, and many retail stores were vandalized and looted.
“I think when we hit daylight we will see the destruction. We lost at least two police vehicles to fire,” said LAPD Assistant Chief Robert Arcos.
The protests came after the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd while in police custody on Monday. The incident led to protests in cities across the US, along with violence and vandalism in many locations.
Protesters in Los Angeles temporarily blocked the 110 freeway that runs through the heart of downtown.
The downtown protests intensified around midnight, resulting in looting at a CVS drugstore and a Whole Food market. Severa jewelry stores were also looted, as protesters set off fireworks and spray-painted buildings with anti-police statements.
“L.A. failed tonight,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore told reporters at around 11 PM. Earlier this week, Moore issued a YouTube video supporting peaceful protests.
Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a plea on Twitter that called for an end to violent protest.
“We respect every Angeleno’s right to protest, but violence and vandalism hurts all,” he said on Twitter on Friday evening. “Let’s remember why we march, protect each other, and bring a peaceful end to a painful night.”
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