SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s governor activated the National Guard on Saturday in an attempt to restore order after protesters set fire to a police car and vandalized a police station and the state Capitol.
Gov. Gary Herbert wrote on Twitter late afternoon that he was deploying troops “to help control the escalating situation.”
“We condemn violence and looting,” Herbert wrote, adding, “I once again call on all who are protesting to do so peacefully.”
Later, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced a curfew lasting from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
What was billed as a “car caravan for justice” began with people in vehicles circling the Salt Lake City Police Department with signs that said “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for George Floyd.”
People on foot smashed eggs against the windows of the police station. Messages were written on the building that said, “We can’t breathe” along with expletives directed at police.
Graffiti was also written on the state Capitol.
Later in the afternoon, protesters flipped over a police vehicle and set it on fire. Men carrying rifles stood on top of the wreckage.
Police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.
Others marched through downtown Salt Lake City to the state Capitol chanting, “We can’t breathe,” which Floyd said while he was in police custody.
A separate rally in Ogden drew about 1,000 people, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
“(We want to do) anything we can do as a people to stop the systematic bias and racism against people of color in our nation that’s gone on for 400 years,” Ogden resident Keyvin VanDyke said.
Floyd died after a Minneapolis officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air, leading to protests in cities across the U.S.