WASHINGTON - Protesters started fires near the White House as tensions with police mounted during a third straight night of demonstrations held in response to the death of George Floyd at police hands in Minnesota.
An hour before the 11 p.m. curfew, police fired a major barrage of tear gas stun grenades into the crowd of more than 1,000 people, largely clearing Lafayette Park across the street from the White House and scattering protesters into the street.
Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades. There was no update as to whether this also happened on Sunday night.
Protesters piled up road signs and plastic barriers and lit a raging fire in the middle of H Street. Some pulled an American flag from a nearby building and threw it into the blaze. Others added branches pulled from trees. A cinder block structure, on the north side of the park, that had bathrooms and a maintenance office, was engulfed in flames.
Police stand by burning barricades in front of the White House during a protest against the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police in Washington, D.C. on May 31, 2020. - (Photo by Samuel Corum / AFP) (Photo by SAMUEL CORUM/AFP via G
Several miles north, a separate protest broke out in Northwest D.C., near the Maryland border. The Metropolitan Police Department says there were break-ins at a Target and a shopping center that houses Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue Men's Store, T.J. Maxx, a movie theater and specialty stores. Police say several individuals have been detained.
The entire Washington, DC National Guard is being called in to help with the response to protests outside the White House and elsewhere in the nation's capital.
That's according to two Defense Department officials.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said Sunday that she had requested 500 DC Guardsman to assist local law enforcement. Later on Sunday, as the protests escalated, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy ordered the rest of the Guardsman -- roughly 1,200 soldiers -- to report.