B.L.M. protestors and counter-protestors stir unrest in downtown Salem late Saturday night sparking city-wide curfew
On Saturday night, demonstrators in Salem came out in large crowds to protest the killing of George Floyd. Initially, the gather was peaceful with organizer, Melvin Smith simply calling on demonstrators to block the street in front of the capitol building. As more individuals joined the protest, the event turned disorderly. Around 12AM, Salem police could be heard on dispatch, ordering the use of tear gas on protestors.
Police, in full riot gear, began dispersing crowds as reports of property damage starting coming in. Salem Center Mall and a handful of other downtown properties found themselves the target of vandalism.
As of 2AM on early Saturday morning, Salem police were still trying to manage the situation as multiple small groups were still causing major disruptions throughout downtown.
At points during the protest, demonstrators were met by counter-protestors dressed in para-military attire and carrying assault rifles.
In response to the unrest, early Sunday morning, Salem’s City Manager, Steve Powers, issued an emergency order, imposing an 8PM curfew in all public places until 6AM, Monday morning.