KEY POINTS

  • Tensions between police and protesters rise in the wake of demonstrations following the death of George Floyd
  • Several videos show police spraying pepper spray on helpless civilians 
  • Some journalists have also been maced while covering the demonstrations

Protests in Philadelphia over the death of African-American George Floyd allegedly in the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer have turned sour as peaceful demonstrations that call for change became riots last week.

Floyd's death has sparked nationwide unrest as minorities and activists took to the city streets to express their emotions on what had happened. In Philadelphia, some 500 people gathered in front of City Hall and knelt down for eight minutes.

While this may be peaceful, another area saw protesters vandalizing the statue of former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo. They even tried to topple it down and set a fire at its base. A police car was also set ablaze by violent demonstrators, as well as a Starbucks outlet nearby.

A journalist is seen bleeding after police started firing tear gas and rubber bullets during a demonstration to call for justice for George Floyd, a black man who died while in custody of the Minneapolis police A journalist is seen bleeding after police started firing tear gas and rubber bullets during a demonstration to call for justice for George Floyd, a black man who died while in custody of the Minneapolis police Photo: AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA

Mayor Jim Kenney told The Morning Call that while earlier protests showed “collective grief,” the sudden transformation and the fact that there was already property damage cannot continue.

“Please have respect and dignity for each other and return home,” he said.

Authorities later announced that Mayor Kenney has issued a mandatory city-wide curfew and only persons with essential duties are allowed to go out.

Despite the curfew, tensions between the police and protesters have reached a boiling point.

A video posted by @mkultranews on Twitter showed a group of police officers walking the streets of Philadelphia. Along the way, they encountered three civilians and, without any hesitation, the officers maced the civilians not once, but multiple times.

Greg Doucette also posted a couple of videos on his Twitter account that showed how some police officers treat protesters and the media. In one of his posts, a cop pulls down a protester's mask and sprayed her in the face. He then went on to spray two of her colleagues and even pushed the last on the ground.

To make matters worse, the protesters were already kneeling. The first victim was seen with her hands behind her back but, still, the officer sprayed the defenseless civilian.

Another video, which was taken in Des Moines, Iowa, depicted another police spraying a journalist “so she'll stop reporting.” The original uploader, “linds,” said Mayor Kenney “fabricated” police statements when they claimed that they had things thrown at them. The uploader also added that officers “lied” when they said they issued “multiple warnings before spraying chemical agents.”

The video was also shared by a Reddit user where it later produced a lengthy thread on the police abusing their authority over civilian protesters.