Demonstrations in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd during an arrest have grown steadily more aggressive on the third night in the streets. On the first night after video was released of Mr. Floyd’s death, there were marches which were overwhelmingly peaceful. On the second night, violence was reported and multiple stores were broken into, with property stolen and destroyed as tear gas was deployed.
Thursday night was worse. In addition to more rioting and looting, the police station where the arresting officers were based was taken over by protesters and set on fire.
The National Guard was mobilized to restore order, even as reports came in that the gas lines to the burning police station had been cut. A warning was sent to all citizens to keep their distance from the location.
President Trump responded shortly thereafter with a threat of escalating violence.
The police station is far from the only building to have been burned. On both Wednesday and Thursday nights multiple businesses have been lit ablaze. With firefighters unable to get through the streets, locals have formed impromptu bucket brigades in an effort to keep homes and other businesses from catching fire, as documented by a resident.
Other protests have been started in Denver, New York City, Los Angeles, and Memphis. Localized instances of violence have been experienced, typically against police, and arrests have been made throughout the country.
Common traits to most of the protests have been a wide racial mix with a large number of white youth, a lot of mask wearing, and virtually no social distancing.
In the midst of coronavirus outbreaks, these protests may have a toll far beyond what is immediately obvious.