Demonstrators out again in Denver after turbulent night
DENVER (AP) — As city crews and dozens of volunteers cleaned up debris and graffiti in downtown Denver following a third consecutive night of turbulent protests over the death of George Floyd, a crowd of hundreds gathered again Sunday outside the state Capitol chanting “I can’t breathe” despite a curfew in effect until Monday.
One man held a sign that read, “Dump Trump” in a demonstration that remained calm with a light police presence.
A total of 83 people were arrested Saturday night, most for breaking a curfew and some others for damaging property or having prohibited weapons, Denver police tweeted Sunday.
Two of the three police officers who were injured Saturday night when a car struck a police cruiser out of the hospital, police said. A third officer remains in the hospital, but all three are expected to fully recover. The condition of a person also injured in the crash was not available, the agency said.
Police were searching for the person driving the vehicle who they say intentionally struck the police vehicle after the nearby protest had largely broken up in downtown Denver.
City crews spent Sunday morning scrubbing graffiti off buildings and cleaning streets in a scene playing out across the country after protests turned turbulent and destructive.
Amanda Sendero and Garrett Teal were among the volunteers helping with the cleanup. Sendero and Teal participated in the protest Saturday night and came back Sunday wearing masks and latex gloves as they put trash into bags saying it was a way to show they care about the city where they live.
“I do not want people to see all this destruction and junk and think this is the way,” said Teal, who recently moved to Denver from Florida.
They picked up trash near a brick war memorial that was covered in black spray paint that read, “Death 2 America. They didn’t die for this.”
Many of the businesses in downtown Denver boarded up their store fronts, with some covered in graffiti such as “I can’t breathe” and “Kill Cops!” At the top of the Capitol’s West Steps, graffiti on the windows above the three entrances read “Stop Killing Us.”
Floyd, a black man, died after a white Minneapolis officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck even after he stopped moving and pleading for air, leading to the protests in Denver and cities across the U.S. and Europe.
Enforcing a Saturday night curfew, the officers dressed in riot gear knocked down a barricade of fencing and road signs built by protesters next to the Colorado state Capitol and fired tear gas. Some protesters threw the gas canisters back at police and hundreds of people scattered amid the smoke.
Blaming a small group of agitators for violence and vandalism, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock issued the curfew and called in the Colorado National Guard to help enforce it. National Guard officials said about 100 troops have been requested in nine sites in Denver.
Hancock decided to impose the curfew following a destructive wave of protests at night that followed more peaceful demonstrations in the day.
Some protesters threw rocks, bottles and large fireworks at police officers, and police seized handguns, assault rifles and crowbars from protesters, Police Chief Paul Pazen said. He drew a comparison between the four Minneapolis officers involved in Floyd’s death giving law enforcement a bad name with violent protesters who were interfering with the message of peaceful protesters.
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