Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has imposed a curfew on the U.S. third largest city Saturday evening, as protests there over an African American‘s death in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Monday have escalated.
At a news conference on Saturday evening, Lightfoot said as the demonstration had “evolved into criminal conduct,” she decided to impose a curfew on the city from 9 p.m. Saturday (0200 GMT Sunday) to 6 a.m. (1100 GMT) Sunday until further notice.
Violators will be given a chance to disperse before arrested, Lightfoot said, and the order exempts essential workers.
After intense skirmishes overnight, which led to 108 arrests, protests in Chicago on Saturday escalated. Thousands of demonstrators marched in downtown Chicago, burning at least one flag, climbing onto a bus and a light pole, hurling bottles, overturning police cars, and surrounding officers, local media reported.
“I’ve seen protesters hurl projectiles at our police department … bottles of water, urine and Lord knows what else,” Lightfoot said. “I want to express my disappointment and really, my total disgust at the number of others who came to today’s protests armed for all-out battle.”
“We can have zero tolerance for people who came prepared for a fight and tried to initiate and provoke our police department,” she added, but ruling out calling in the National Guard.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said at least one officer had “broken bones,” and several others suffered less serious injuries.
Several buildings had been vandalized, windows broken, and the police responded with pepper spray and “arrests to prevent looting,” he said.
George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, died Monday after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was captured on video pinning Floyd down by his neck for eight minutes. Protests erupted in Minneapolis in the following day and quickly spread across the United States.