Demonstrations over police killings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana escalated into tense weekend clashes with police, with officers arresting more than 230 total protesters in St. Paul, Mn., and Baton Rouge, La., says the Wall Street Journal. In cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., thousands of protesters demonstrated in the streets in recent days to express outrage over the fatal police shootings of the two men last week. In St. Paul, a protest over the killing of a black man by a Latino police officer turned violent, resulting in injuries to several officers. Protesters closed a major interstate and some threw rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails. “Unfortunately … some of the individuals that had gathered at the governor’s residence decided to go from peaceful protest and exercising their First Amendment rights to rioting,” said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
The head of Black Lives Matter-St. Paul, Rashad Turner, said the group “had absolutely nothing to do” with the interstate shutdown. He said outside agitators are responsible for the “incitement of violence towards the police and innocent bystanders observing the protest.” By early yesterday morning, 102 protesters had been arrested and 21 officers were injured, St. Paul officials said. The St. Paul clash was the first violent outburst from protesters who have been demonstrating peacefully since St. Anthony Police officer Jeronimo Yanez, a Mexican-American, allegedly shot and killed Philando Castile last Wednesday night in the city of Falcon Heights.