Over 530 people were arrested after protests against police brutality turned violent in downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.
A total of 533 arrests were made related to the protests on Friday (29 May) night and early Saturday (30 May). The charges include burglary, looting, probation violation, battery on police officer, attempt murder and failure to disperse. All but 18 of the arrestees have been released on their own recognisance, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.
The department said it would continue to assess the full extent of property damage from last night's protest activities.
Several police vehicles were vandalised, and numerous downtown businesses were damaged and looted, the department noted.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles Friday night during a third day of demonstrations against police brutality.
Protesters marched in the streets, shouting slogans such as "I can't breathe" to express their anger over the killing of the unarmed Minnesota black man by police. A group of protesters briefly blocked a major north-south freeway in downtown Los Angeles.
Authorities had to make so many arrests because those on the street refused repeated orders to leave, including an unlawful assembly order for all of downtown issued Friday night, according to the Los Angeles Times, adding it marked one of the largest mass arrests by the Los Angeles Police Department in recent years.
Local TV channel footage showed protesters clashing with police and some store windows were smashed.
The Target store at Seventh and Figueroa streets, a Rite Aid store at Seventh and Hope streets, the Sixth Street Market, the Starbucks on Sixth Street between Broadway and Main Street, and jewelry stores near Sixth Street and Broadway were among the businesses looted before midnight, according to the local news outlet City News Service.
Police set up skirmish lines throughout the downtown area and, in at least one instance, fired non-lethal ammunition as they pushed a crowd out of the area, City News Service reported.
Six police officers were injured in confrontations with protesters. Los Angeles Police Department said that those injured officers sustained non-life-threatening injuries ranging from lacerations to impact wounds.
"I believe in our city. L.A. is strong enough to stand for justice and walk in love," tweeted Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Friday.
"We respect every Angeleno's right to protest, but violence and vandalism hurts all," he noted.
Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore tweeted Saturday morning that "last night was a dark reminder of the perils of a society in turmoil."
"As of this morning all restrictions in the downtown area have been lifted. While more protests are slated for various locations throughout the city today, we remain hopeful those demonstrations will be peaceful," tweeted the Los Angeles Police Department Saturday morning, adding that the department would be deploying additional resources to maintain order and ensure the safety and security of people.
Demonstrations and riots have spread to cities across the United States after a video went viral of George Floyd being suffocated to death by a white police officer in the mid-western US state of Minnesota on Monday.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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