WASHINGTON - Mayor Muriel Bowser says the District is bracing for another round of protests – and preparing for the worst – after a weekend that saw demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death turn violent.
Storefronts were smashed and looted, buildings were set on fire, and some of D.C.’s most iconic monuments we marred with graffiti as the demonstrations devolved into mayhem Saturday and Sunday night.
The mayor talked to local media in front of historic St. John’s Church, which was set ablaze during Sunday night protests.
While the Capitol Hill area saw multiple fires and monuments vandalized, the mayor said the rest of the city suffered similar damage.
“I’m very angry that people would destroy their own city – or that people would come here and destroy our city,” the mayor said.
Over the weekend, police faced a number of hurdles trying to control the chaos, as protesters hurled fireworks and rolled burning dumpsters down city streets.
Saturday night, protesters threw a newsstand at officers.
Bowser said District personnel are removing such items.
“We’ve tried to clear as many things as we could – trashcans, newspaper bins, we removed a lot of the scooters and things that you saw on the street so that people couldn’t use those as projectiles or that they wouldn’t stop our officers or fire trucks on the street – which we saw the night before,” the mayor said.
The removals are part of an overall effort to prepare for any additional violence that might flare up this week.
“So we did our very best to harden the area and we would recommend people removing cars from the area,” the mayor said.
The weekend violence in D.C. mirrored similar events across the nation as anger over the death of George Floyd boiled over.
Floyd’s death in police custody was caught on camera last week. In the video, an officer can be seen ramming his knee into Floyd’s neck and keeping him pinned in that position for over eight minutes, while he pleads, “I can’t breathe.”
The officer – Derek Chauvin – was arrested several days later and charged with murder.