PHILADELPHIA (WBRE/WYOU) — Philadelphia police have issued a curfew following violent clashes that erupted after a peaceful protest at City Hall. City and community leaders are pointing to a smaller group of “outside agitators” for instigating the chaos that played out for several hours Saturday afternoon.
Thousands of protesters gathered outside Philadelphia’s City Hall to rally for justice for George Floyd, who died while being detained by Minneapolis Police. Four Minneapolis officers were fired for the incident, one of them was arrested on murder and manslaughter charges.
Philadelphia Police say the initial protest at city hall was peaceful and was attended by thousands of protesters. After that protest, police say a much smaller group became violent, setting fire to police vehicles, damaging buildings, and looting.
Philadelphia Police say 13 officers were injured in the clashes, and a total of four police vehicles were set on fire. Police said that demonstrators were injured as well, but did not have exact numbers.
Organizers of the initial protest and other community leaders condemned the actions of what they said were a smaller group of protesters who arrived later in the afternoon and became violent. Some leaders at the news conference referred to this group as “outside agitators” who were not associated with the diverse organizations who attended the initial protest at city hall.
Organizers urged everyone to obey the curfew instituted by police, and resolved to continue peaceful protests for justice in the George Floyd case.
The curfew for Philadelphia was in effect from 8 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday. Another curfew will take effect at 8 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday.
Governor Tom Wolf issued a statement Saturday evening calling for peaceful protests and urging Pennsylvanians to take care of each other. The governor issued a disaster declaration later in the evening, pledging additional resources to support Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg. All three cities saw violent clashes between protesters and police Saturday evening.