RICHMOND, Va. -- Police declared an unlawful assembly after hundreds marched to Richmond Police Headquarters Saturday night during a demonstration in support of protesters in Portland, Oregon.
Protesters had been planning for days the demonstration called “Richmond Stands with Portland” in an apparent reaction to ongoing tensions between protesters and U.S. agents in Oregon's largest city.
"An Unlawful Assembly has been declared at RPD Headquarters," Richmond Police posted on Twitter just after 11:05 p.m. "Please disperse or face arrest."
Police have now released chemical agents to clear the area! One protester was taken into custody. pic.twitter.com/kOap0F6dEz— Rob Desir (@Rob_Desir) July 26, 2020
Rob Desir said someone in the crowd smashed out the windows of a city dump truck and set it on fire just before 11:20 p.m.
"Police have now released chemical agents to clear the area," Desir wrote at 11:22 p.m. "One protester was taken into custody."
Officers have to "secure the area before firefighters can respond," the department posted at 11:23.
Less than 10 minutes later, Virginia State Police posted video of the fire department "extinguishing fire set by rioters."
Crews also extinguished a mattress fire. Glass windows were shattered at a restaurant and a dorm on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus.
Desir said hundreds of people were marching on E. Cary Street just after 10 p.m.
"Protest has now move on Broad St. heading towards downtown," Desir posted at 10:30 p.m.
Protest has now move on Broad St. heading towards downtown pic.twitter.com/zNqxG4paPu— Rob Desir (@Rob_Desir) July 26, 2020
An alert was issued by Virginia Commonwealth University at 10:25 p.m. that there was a public assembly on East Broad Street impacting the MCV Campus.
"Access VCUH via Leigh to 10th/10th to Marshall," official said. "Police will allow access on Marshall Street."
That area was cleared by 10:40 p.m., according to the university, as the crowd amassed outside the police department's headquarters.
"Police in full riot gear at RPD where the protesters appears to plan on heading," Desir wrote at 11 p.m.. "Police have ordered them to disperse."
Virginia State Police officials said troopers were "on post to protect" the police department's headquarters.
"Protesters tore down police tape & have pushed forward w/lasers & firecrackers," state police posted on Twitter just after 11 p.m.
Richmond Police posted that protesters were asked to disperse at 11 p.m. An unlawful assembly was called at 11:06 p.m.
Saturday's demonstration comes nine weeks after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on May 25.
Since then the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Richmond's Monument Avenue had become a focal point for protesters against police brutality and racism in the wake of Floyd's death.
Clashes between police and protesters gathered near the statue had become a regular occurrence.