Violent protests and civil unrest continue to sweep the US, with police clashing with demonstrators in Virginia after riots broke out in Portland and Seattle during another night of chaos.
Six people were arrested in Richmond on Friday night after protesters faced off with cops, pelting them with paintballs and other ‘hard objects’, police said.
Chaos broke out near the Robert E. Lee statue where a crowd of 75 to 100 people had gathered and remained at 10pm – despite grounds closing at sunset.
Richmond Police declared an unlawful assembly minutes later after protesters began to fire paintballs at officers, leaving four cops and one trooper injured.
One officer required hospital treatment after he was struck in the back of the helmet with a hard object, authorities said.
Violent scenes unfolded at Richmond’s Robert E. Lee statue grounds on Friday night, where protesters faced off with police
VA State Police released bodycam footage they say shows fireworks being launched by protesters
Demonstrators face police during a protest against racial inequality in front of the City Hall in Richmond on Tuesday
The memorial has become a site of recent clashes and unrest as protesters call for the removal of Confederate statues
Chaos broke out near the Robert E. Lee statue on Friday where a crowd of 75 to 100 people had gathered and remained by 10pm – despite grounds closing at sunset. Pictured: Crowds gather around the defaced monument earlier this month
The RPD said they did not use tear gas on demonstrators but one officer discharged pepper spray at one point ‘due to ongoing assaults from the crowds.’
Five adults and one minor were arrested in the confrontation. Their charges range from unlawful assembly, obstruction of justice, trespassing and assaulting a law enforcement officer.
Shortly after the area was cleared out at 11.30, protesters allegedly began shooting fireworks ‘at police’, VA State Police said.
The department released body cam footage that showed the explosives being launched.
‘At least one of the protester’s pyrotechnics spun out of control & struck an individual in the media,’ state police said.
The memorial has become a site of recent clashes and unrest as protesters call for the removal of Confederate statues, obelisks and other monuments across the country.
SEATTLE: On Friday, a group of rioters were seen hurling rocks at Seattle’s West Precinct, smashing one of the windows
Photos on social media showed damaged to the windows after angry protesters smashed them
SEATTLE: A person tries to take away a hammer from a man at left who was using it to remove artwork on barricades Friday at the CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) zone in Seattle on Friday
SEATTLE: Protesters lie down and sit in the street after workers and heavy equipment from the Seattle Department of Transportation arrived at the the CHOP with the intention of removing barricades
The 12-ton, 21-foot statue of Lee is especially symbolic in Richmond, the former capitol of the Confederacy.
Friday’s skirmish comes amid weeks of demonstrations across the US, triggered by the death of George Floyd on May 25.
Across the country on the west coast, protests in Seattle and Portland have escalated into chaos as police precincts have come under siege.
Seattle officials have come under mounting pressure to regain control of the city where protesters established a ‘police-free’ Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ).
On Friday, a group of rioters were seen hurling rocks at Seattle’s West Precinct, smashing one of the windows, KOMO-TV reported.
Officers dressed in riot gear quickly intervened and dispersed crowds. No officers were injured.
Protests carried on into the night in Portland after the police North Precinct was set on fire earlier that morning.
Video footage released by Portland Police Friday showed the moment a man was assaulted by ‘violent demonstrators’ downtown.
PORTLAND: Photo released by the Portland Police Department shows damage to buildings after protesters vandalized businesses and set fire to a precinct earlier that morning
PORTLAND: Videos and images posted to social media by demonstrator James Martin showed several separate fires set up at barricades placed between protesters and police on Thursday night and into Friday morning
PORTLAND: Demonstrations turned violent in Portland on Thursday night and Friday morning, with protesters started several fires and cops firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse crowds
The group was seen beating and kicking a man between Morrison Street and 4th Avenue around 4am on Wednesday, local news station KOIN reported.
One of the attackers was allegedly seen with a gun before the attack, police said.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan met with demonstrators Friday after some lay in the street or sat on barricades to thwart the city’s effort to dismantle an ‘occupied’ protest zone that has drawn scorn from President Trump and a lawsuit from nearby businesses.
Crews arrived with heavy equipment early Friday morning at the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, an occupied protest zone in Seattle, ready to dismantle barriers set up after protesters seized the area June 8 following clashes with police. But by mid-morning, they appeared to have backed off rather than risk conflict.
A spokesperson said late Friday the mayor met with Black ministers and some of the organizers and suggested ‘steps that she believes can be taken in the coming days, including the removal of the barriers to create more access.’
Seattle police had no plans to return this weekend to a nearby precinct that was abandoned following clashes with demonstrators, Durkan’s spokesperson said.