Cop cars to luxury rides, how vehicles have been targeted in protests across US
Several US cities are on fire and vehicles lying damaged, vandalized or even burnt are muted testament to the ongoing unrest here. Over the course of last several weeks, demonstrations to protest against the killing of an American of African origin by a white Minnesota cop has triggered a massive backlash. While protesters in thousands have taken to the streets against what they say is unabashed police brutality, it has also led to several random acts of vandalism by miscreants.
Vehicles often become the target of ire during street protests and while in several cases, damaging vehicles may have been an act with no pre-meditated plans, sheer vandalism acts though have made many question the role of miscreants in such protests.
Take the case of a Mercedes showroom in Oakland, California.
A video of rioters breaking into the dealership went viral in which they were seen breaking into the facility and climbing on display cars before kicking at the windshields and even jumping on the roof of the vehicles in a possible bid to damage the sunroof. Some even spray-painted the white luxury cars. (Full report and video here)
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Local reports highlighted how a Honda showroom in close proximity was also targeted with stones.
Vehicles parked on the streets in several areas where demonstrations became violent were left in a shambolic state with stones, baseball bats and even hammers being used to shatter glasses and bodywork.
In Los Angeles, at least two public buses were sprayed over with anti-cop messages by protestors who were armed with spray canisters. CNN on Saturday reported that police vehicles in the city were also damaged and that rubber bullets had to be fired to disperse the crowds.
Police and official vehicles have become a common target in several other cities too. Cop cars in Atlanta were damaged while NYPD vehicles were sprayed over or broken into, or both. In one case, an NYPD vehicle in Lower Manhattan was set ablaze. CNN also reported that a US Secret Service police vehicle outside the White House was also vandalized.
It is widely suspected that while most demonstrators are peaceful, miscreants are increasingly taking advantage of the situation to go about their nefarious ways. And if vehicles being torched or damaged is not bad enough, many have also indulged in looting of branded shops and breaking public property.
Several US cities are on the edge as protests have spread like wildfire after a cop was caught on tape with his knee on the neck of a man later identified as George Floyd. Floyd was pinned down by Derek Chauvin who has since been removed from the police force and has been charged with murder. Floyd had been arrested for allegedly using counterfeit money at a store to buy cigarettes last Monday evening. He could not be revived after being put into an ambulance.
Protesters say that police brutality was primarily because Floyd was of African-American origin and that the incident won't have led to the sorry conclusion had he been white. There's anger. There's resentment. And then there was a tweet from US President Donald Trump which Twitter would immediately flag as glorifying violence. "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!" Trump had written.