Peaceful Protests In Boston Turn Violent Overnight

UPDATED: 6/1/20 at 1:18 p.m.

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A day of peaceful protests, demanding justice for the death of George Floyd, turned violent overnight in Boston.

The violence began around 9 p.m., mostly around Downtown Crossing, the Common, and in front of the State House.

Bottles and other objects were thrown toward police, who were dressed in full riot gear. Fires were set in trashcans all throughout Boston Common, and a police cruiser was set ablaze on Tremont Street.

Authorities used flash bangs and tear gas in an attempt to disperse crowds of protesters. Some said they felt the potency of the tear gas.

"It burns. It burns a lot. It made my mouth go numb and burn at the same time," one protester told WBZ NewsRadio. "There’s no relief from it.”

Demonstrators could be heard chanting "Black Lives Matter." Authorities could be seen advancing on the crowd, bellowing "move back!"

One Boston resident condemned the violence, saying "It hurts to see that. Everybody is doing this. And retaliating with violence, there shouldn’t be violence here. It should be peaceful.”

A protester said the aggressive acts come from those who are desperate.

"I don’t condone the violence," the protester said. "I don’t think burning down the place where we live or the businesses is really the thing to do, but nothing else is working. What else is going to get the point across at this point?”

Multiple stores were also damaged and looted. And more than 20 police cruisers were damaged. Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said Monday that 53 people were arrested.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said that nine officers were taken to the hospital, and 18 other people also needed medical treatment.

Later on in the night, the National Guard was deployed in Boston, according to WBZ-TV.

In a statement last night, Walsh thanked the protesters "who exercised their right to free speech effectively, and peacefully, making sure everyone hears their message. Tonight's protests were motivated by a righteous desire for equality, justice, and accountability in our country. I see you. I hear you. I will use my voice for you."

However, the mayor said he did not condone the violence.

"I am angered, by the people who came into our city and chose to engage in acts of destruction and violence, undermining their message," Walsh said "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 also issued a statement following the protests, saying 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."

“I am deeply thankful for their voices and their positive, forceful message," Baker said. "I also want to express my gratitude to all the police officers and other first responders working to protect the people of Boston from the individuals whose violent actions, looting and property destruction was criminal and cowardly – and distracted from the powerful statement made today by thousands of Massachusetts residents."

As protesters were beginning to disperse, the MBTA closed Park Street and Government Center.

"With the safety of transit riders, T employees and demonstrators of paramount importance, law enforcement personnel made the decision to limit access to certain sections of the subway in the downtown area," the MBTA told WBZ NewsRadio in a statement.

Boston City Councilor At-Large Julia said that she had to "personally go on two rescue missions to pick up young protesters who were stranded."

When WBZ NewsRadio followed up to ask the MBTA if this is something demonstrators should expect as other protests happen.

The MBTA said the "T will act on guidance from public safety leaders."

WBZ NewsRadio's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports

Follow WBZ NewsRadio: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | iHeartmedia App

(Photos: Getty Images)

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content