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Looting, Vandalism And Violence in Boston After Peaceful Protests

The National Guard was eventually called in to help police disperse the crowds

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A day of peaceful protests in Boston turned suddenly violent on Sunday night, with looting, vandalism and protesters clashing with police.

Thousands gathered in the city for two protests over the death of George Floyd. But as the sun went down and the crowds began to disperse, some protesters threw rocks, bricks and glass bottles at officers. One Boston police officer was escorted out of Downtown Crossing clutching their head.

The National Guard was eventually called in around 10:30 p.m. to help police disperse the crowds.

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

"Those now protesting in the streets of Boston have surrendered the moral high ground as efforts to hurt and harm police officers continue to intensify in our city," Boston police said on Twitter on Sunday night. "Men and women of BPD doing their best to restore order and keep the peace."

State police said at one point an MBTA Transit Police cruiser responding to a report of an officer down was surrounded by "an aggressive and combative mob who began to strike the cruiser." They said troopers discharged pepper ball projectiles and were able to free the transit police cruiser.

Protesters broke a glass door at an apartment building in Downtown Crossing. Several Boston police cruisers and storefronts were vandalized. There were also reports of looting at a Men's Warehouse store in the area and potted plants overturned outside Macy's.

A Men's Wearhouse store was looted Sunday after chaos erupted following a protest against police brutality.

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

About 40 people were arrested and seven officers were taken the hospital with injuries while "many more," were being treated on scene as of 3 a.m. Monday, according to the Boston Police Department. At least 21 police cruisers were damaged.

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.

After hours of a peaceful march, protestors turned on police around 9 p.m. Sunday.

Mayor Marty Walsh thanked Boston police for their professionalism, while blasting those who caused a peaceful day to turn violent.

"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," he 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.

Gov. Charlie Baker offered similar sentiments, calling 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."

The violence came hours after thousands of protesters marched to the Massachusetts State House on Sunday evening, adding their voices to the outrage across the nation.

The protesters, many wearing masks, held signs and called for reforms following the death of Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck until he stopped breathing.

The march, the day's second wave of protests, began around 6:30 p.m., with demonstrators heading to the State House from Roxbury, Chinatown and the South End.

Chants of "No justice, no peace" and, simply, "Floyd," rang through the streets as throngs of protesters made their way to Beacon Hill.

"I'm a black woman... and I have a son, so my prayers are different," one woman said. "I just want to be out here to represent, to make sure me -- as a black mom -- we've got to stand for something.

"I'm not for the racism and violence anymore," she said.

"I am here to stand up against police brutality," another woman said. "I am here for my black friends, my black family members, my black daughter... I am here to do what's right and not stay quiet."

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, among the crowd of protesters, told NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely, "We won't stop until we get justice."

Earlier, many protesters gathered near City Hall around 3 p.m. Many were dressed in black and appeared to be practicing social distancing. Some held signs with messages including, "Black Lives Matter," "I can't breathe," "Enough is enough" and "How many more?"

After departing City Hall, the demonstrators marched through the streets -- flanked by police -- and eventually made their way to Boston Common, where many gathered. Some lay on the ground in a symbolic gesture.

In Boston protesters are marching against police brutality after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Sunday's protests came two days after protesters clashed with Boston police in the South End, leading to 10 arrests. Those who were arrested are scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Four officers were also hurt Friday night.

IMAGES: Protesters Flood Boston Streets Following George Floyd’s Death

As the protesters marched, a smaller group gathered at Boston Police Headquarters in Roxbury for a faith vigil, where they could be heard singing "We shall overcome."

The protests come as demonstrations have erupted across the nation, even as Derek Chauvin, the fired officer seen kneeling on Floyd's neck was charged with third-degree murder.

People are protesting across the U.S., including in Boston, after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Numerous protests have taken place in New England, calling for reforms and denounce police violence against black people.

Boston is just one of many cities where protests are happening, including Minneapolis, Denver, New York, Phoenix, Columbus, Albuquerque and Louisville.

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