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2 arrested after ‘smoke’ devices launched during Carytown protest

Posted at 10:34 AM, Oct 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-13 13:14:44-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Two people were arrested after protesters set off smoke bombs in Carytown in Richmond Saturday night during a demonstration against President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as fighting escalates in Syria.

Investigators said about 50 people gathered near the intersection of Cary and South Nansemond streets around 8 p.m.

"As they walked in the street, towards Arthur Ashe Boulevard, several 'smoke' devices were ignited," Capt. John W. Hall Jr. with Richmond Police said.

Officials said one person was arrested for unlawful actions during the protest as officers monitored the group.

When the arrest was taking place, Hall said an officer was assaulted.

"The second individual was arrested for that offense," Hall said. "The officer was not injured."

Richmond Police said they do not yet know the motive for the protest, but organizers called it a demonstration "in solidarity with the people of Rojava" in Syria and against President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The protest comes as Turkish forces took control of their first town in northern Syria on Saturday, the defense ministry said, as the country's offensive intensifies.

It comes days after Erdogan launched the incursion into Syria to drive Kurdish forces -- a key US ally against ISIS -- away from the border and to use the area to resettle around 2 million Syrian refugees.

Dozens of civilians have been killed since Turkey began launching airstrikes and artillery fire across the border. And according to the SDF, 45 of its fighters have been killed since Wednesday. It also says its resistance killed 118 Turkish-backed forces on Friday.

An estimated 100,000 people have been displaced since the beginning of the military offensive, according to the United Nations on Friday.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.