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Krewson lifts St. Louis curfew

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson has lifted the 9 p.m. curfew after last week's protests turned violent.

Krewson thanked residents and businesses for respecting the curfew.

"As a City and as a country, we are listening and changing through non-violent protests and self-expression," Krewson said.

America Protests St Louis

A man walks past a burned convenience store Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in St. Louis. On Monday night people were seen removing items from the store before the building went up in flames and after a large peaceful protest against the death of George Floyd who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25 had ended. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Protests turned violent in downtown St. Louis last Monday as four police officers were shot after midnight. St. Louis police confirmed all of those officers have been released from the hospital.

The shooting happened near St. Louis police headquarters, where group of protesters and police clashed repeatedly throughout the night.

"Please keep these officers in your thoughts and prayers, as well as all our brave first responders responding to the unfolding situation downtown tonight," St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson wrote on Facebook.

Businesses looted

Protests turned violent downtown as the sun went down, following a day of peaceful protests. Protesters looted many downtown businesses and set fire to the 7-Eleven store in Downtown West.

According to Chief Hayden, 55 businesses downtown were vandalized or looted.

Kids Footlocker damaged by looters

 A Kids Footlocker and other stores in a strip mall were damaged or boarded up on Cass and Spring following a night of violent protests. 

A Kids Foot Locker and other stores in a strip mall on Cass near Spring were damaged. Just a block away, firefighters scrambled to fight flames coming from a Family Dollar.

Looters were heard shouting out of their cars, “[Expletive] police! We taking [expletive] until they stop taking our people.”

News 4 crews spotted looters stealing items from a Foot Locker and a nearby clothing store before jumping into their cars. The parking lot cleared out as an unmarked police car pulled up. 

Reporter Justin Andrews was reporting live on News 4 This Morning while a group of people attempted to break into an ATM in north St. Louis.

The tension came as the sun went down, after thousands of demonstrators marched peacefully through downtown St. Louis Monday afternoon.

[WATCH: Peaceful protest of thousands moves through downtown demanding justice for George Floyd]

After hundreds gathered outside of police headquarters on Olive Street, police formed a line and began pushing protesters away from the main entrance of the building. 

Shortly after moving back about a block, some members of the crowd could be seen throwing objects at the line of officers, with several fireworks exploding at their feet. 

At 9 p.m., police could be heard announcing that the assembly was no longer peaceful, and warned protesters if they didn't disperse and move west, they would deploy tear gas. Shortly after, a firework was thrown into the line of police, and they responded by firing several canisters off.

At 9:30 p.m., people on the street smashed the windows of the 7-Eleven on 17th street and began stealing items from inside the store. 

At 9:40 p.m., it appeared a man outside the store fired a gun in the air, and shortly after that, a part of the building was set on fire. 

Firefighters were staged nearby, but given the ongoing violence, could not respond to put out the fire.

The St. Louis Police Department released an initial list of buildings and businesses that were either looted or sustained property damage. The list is expected to grow throughout the day.

Local leaders condemn violence

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson responded to the outbreak of violence, contrasting the destruction of property with the earlier peaceful march. 

"It's horrible. This is of course what all the protesters who were there peacefully this afternoon wanted to avoid. But as you know, when it gets dark and it gets later, there are other folks who are in the crowd," she said. "It's very frustrating. I certainly thinks the violence takes away from what the good folks are trying to accomplish- what we're all trying to accomplish- which is a world where situations like what happened to George Floyd don't happen."

The property damaged continued on Washington Avenue, where several businesses had windows smashed up and down the street.

Board of Alderman Lewis Reed condemned the actions of those downtown Monday night, saying change won't happen by perpetrating violence on our own community. 

"The people who are out there burning down buildings, they're not there for George Floyd, they're there for themselves," Reed said. "As an African American male, I should not have to worry when I walk down the street that if I'm approached by law enforcement, it's going to be a bad exchange. We can get as a country, but you're not going to get there by burning things down, by shooting guns, and by looting stores. It takes away from what we're trying to achieve."

Reed also organized a clean up that will start at 9 a.m. at the shopping center at Grand and Cass and then move to various throughout the city. He is asking participants to wear gloves and a mask, and bring brooms.

Thousands Marched Downtown During Daytime Protests

The events after dark were starkly different from earlier in the day, when 3,000 people marched from the Justice Center and walked down Market Street to the Gateway arch.

The crowd walked to the Archgrounds and placed Post-It notes on the base of the Arch with messages of solidarity with those marching around the country and a continued call for justice for George Floyd.

After walking reaching the Arch, protesters turned and walked past Busch Stadium and up the on-ramp of Interstate 64/40.

The crowd paused on the on-ramp until police arrived on bikes, then once the interstate was shut down, officers pulled away and let marchers onto the main highway.

Monday marks the fifth day of protests in the region, and while the daytime marches have been peaceful, violence has erupted in the night, with several businesses being vandalized and some violent clashes with police.

The days of protests were triggered by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes. That officer, who was videotaped during the arrest, has been charged with murder.

Some stores in the Brentwood Square shopping center were closed Monday after protesters broke windows and caused damage inside. Nordstrom Rack, REI, AT&T were seen boarded up and with repair crews on site Monday. Around the same time Sunday night, dozens of protesters congregated at the St. Louis Galleria, at times blocking Brentwood and Clayton roads.

St. Louis County Officers Attacked

News 4 crews saw at least one man setting off fireworks in the nearby CVS parking lot. Police were seen escorting one person in handcuffs.

Some protesters threw rocks and fireworks at officers just after 9 p.m. Sunday and Ferguson police officers gave them verbal warnings to disperse.

The St. Louis County Police Department then said the situation has become an unlawful assembly as protesters refused to stop and continued attacking the officers. Two officers were injured as a result.

Several Ferguson businesses were broken into and News 4 cameras were rolling as two small explosions occurred within those businesses. Police also said a Molotov cocktail was thrown in their direction. A total of six people were arrested. St. Louis County said there were reports of shots fired at officers.

Sunday night St. Louis County police made six arrests; three for assault on law enforcement officers, one for destruction of property, one for unlawful possession of an explosive weapon, and one for an active warrant. 

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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