Protests in Seattle over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis turned violent on Saturday. Shops were ransacked, police vehicles set on fire and police weapons were stolen, prompting Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to impose a city-wide curfew and proclaim a civil emergency. Washington Governor Jay Inslee called in 200 members of the National Guard to help manage crowds and protect property.
The protesters had gathered to demonstrate against the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year old African American man, by a white police officer. Four white police officers were captured on-camera tackling him. One officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on Floyd's neck for a long eight-and-a-half minutes as he gasped for air. He later passed out and was declared dead at the hospital. The incident has sparked nationwide protests, some turning into riots.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Seattle, at times passing right through the traffic. They carried signs stating 'Defund Police', 'Police the Police', 'Justice for George Floyd' and chanted "black lives matter", "I can't breathe" and "What's his name? George Floyd".
At places, the police shot tear gas shells and used pepper spray. Many have argued that the protest was completely peaceful until the police sprung into action. In one such incident, cops sprayed pepper spray at a little girl.
The protest soon escalated and turned violent. Officers were attacked with objects, properties were destroyed, shops ransacked and police cars set on fire. Even the cheesecake factory was looted, with a protester seen walking away with a cheesecake. Matters escalated when some demonstrated broke into the police vehicle and stole rifles. In one such incident, a man was seen with a weapon, which was swiftly snatched away by a police officer.
Seattle Mayor Imposes Curfew
Mayor Durkan imposed a city-wide curfew from 5:00 pm to 5:00 am on both Saturday and Sunday. The city's residents are asked to shelter at home and no weapons are allowed on streets, including objects like rocks and sticks, MYNorthWest reported. She said that several injuries and arrests were reported. Several police officers were also injured.