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‘Chaos': Boston Left Reeling After Peaceful Protests Turn Violent Overnight

Protests over the death of George Floyd in Boston turned violent overnight, with some looting and destroying storefronts in downtown Boston and injuring police

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Shattered glass and debris lined the streets of Boston Monday morning after peaceful protests denouncing police brutality turned ugly overnight, leaving businesses in numerous neighborhoods damaged.

Residents and business owners from Downtown Crossing to the Back Bay awoke to the chaotic aftermath, even as some offices in Boston were allowed to reopen for the first time in months as some social distancing restrictions were eased Monday.

The violence erupted sometime after 9 p.m. after waves of peaceful protesters marched to the State House from across the city. While thousands dispersed, some clashed with police, with authorities reporting bottles and even bricks being thrown at officers.

Over 50 people were arrested, nine officers were taken to the hospital and "many more," were being treated for injuries on the scene of protests that turned violent overnight over the death of George Floyd.

About 21 police vehicles were damaged, according to the Boston Police Department.

Mayor Marty Walsh is scheduled to give a press conference at 1 p.m. Monday from City Hall. He thanked Boston police for their professionalism, while blasting those who caused a peaceful day to turn violent overnight.

"I am angered, however, by the people who came into our city and chose to engage in acts of destruction and violence, undermining their message," Walsh said in a statement. "If we are to achieve change and if we are to lead the change, our efforts must be rooted in peace and regard for our community.

After hours of peaceful protests, a Boston police cruiser has been set on fire downtown.

Protesters broke glass doors and windows, vandalized storefronts and looted them. Signs and garbage littered the streets of Boston Monday morning as well as store merchandise like shoes and hangers. Many business owners, hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, were preparing to open their doors Monday.

"It made me feel like, what did I do to deserve this? I mean, you talk about justice -- this is injustice," one store owner said. "What did I do to deserve this? What purpose does this serve? What good does this give to anyone? Nothing."

Storefronts along Newbury Street, Copley Place and at the Prudential Center, as well as a Walgreens at Downtown Crossing were damaged. There were also reports of looting at a Men's Warehouse in the area and potted plants overturned outside Macy's.

"Chaos. Chaos, definitely," Adam Birkeland said after watching the violence erupt from his 8th floor window in the Godfrey Hotel Boston. "They were lighting off fireworks and you had police patrolling so it was a crazy time."

The National Guard was called downtown around 9 p.m. to help local police disperse crowds and respond to looting. Military police and National Guard humvees were on scene until around 5 a.m. Monday morning. They are now on stand-by.

Service on the Green Line, Orange Line, Blue Line and Red Line was suspended through the night because of the demonstration, according to the MBTA. Blue Line shuttle buses were also suspended.

State officials denounced the destruction and praised the Boston Police Department for their response.

Attorney General Maura Healey said she was "proud of our city," on Twitter early Monday morning."

I know this—the violent, the looters, the instigators that seek to interfere with this movement will not be successful," Healey said.

Gov. Charlie Baker called those who looted and destroyed property "criminal and cowardly," while also praising police and those who protested peacefully.

"The murder of George Floyd at the hands of police was a horrible tragedy -- one of countless tragedies to befall people of color across the United States. The vast majority of protesters today did so peacefully, toward a common goal of promoting justice and equality."

After hours of peaceful protests in the city, the night took a turn as protesters began to get unruly.

Thousands gathered in the city for two protests over the death of George Floyd Sunday. The protests remained peaceful for about six hours before the sun went down and some protesters threw rocks, bricks and glass bottles at officers.

Fires were also being set in Boston Common, and the walls and staircase outside the State House were vandalized with spray paint.

State police confirmed they made two arrests, both people who attempted to scale the fence at the State House. Several other people were seen being led off in handcuffs by police throughout the night.

At least one civilian was seen being taken away in an ambulance.

A March 25 cell phone video shows an officer from the Minneapolis Police Department, Derek Chauvin, placing his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes. It also captured Floyd's cries of physical pain, which led to protests in Minnesota's largest city as well as cities across the country, from Chicago to Atlanta, Los Angeles to New York City.

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