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Violence, vandalism ‘will not be tolerated:’ Madison police respond to protests

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Madison police move in after protesters smash storefront windows

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Madison Police Department released a statement Saturday night responding to peaceful protests turned violent along State Street.

"MPD remains committed to protecting community members’ First Amendment rights," police said. "However, violence and property damage will not be tolerated."

Protestors demonstrated on the Capitol square Saturday afternoon against the death of George Floyd, a man who died earlier in the week while in the custody of Minneapolis police. A viral video circulated on social media showing one officer kneeling on Floyd's neck.

A smaller group of protesters split off from the main protest around 5 p.m. and made their way down State Street.

Protesters moved down the street throwing chairs and rocks at police and damaging business in the area.

The Madison Police Department has said that two police officers have been injuries, their injuries are unknown.

The full statement is below:

Earlier today, a large group gathered on the State Capital grounds to advocate for justice for George Floyd. The group marched down East Washington Avenue, to Williamson Street, before returning to the Capital grounds. Officers blocked traffic and ensured that the group could express themselves safely.

At about 4:30pm, the demonstration ended and the crowd began dispersing. A group of around 150 remained in the area, and began damaging property. The group damaged vehicles and broke windows as they moved to the State Street area. There, the group began breaking business windows and attempting entry to a jewelry store. MPD officers responded and ordered the group to disperse. Chemical agents were utilized as officers moved the crowd from the area. The group has continued to engage in property damage and looting along State Street. Numerous projectiles – including rocks and chairs – have been thrown at officers.

MPD remains committed to protecting community members’ First Amendment rights. However, violence and property damage will not be tolerated.

Officers remain engaged in efforts to maintain public safety and members of the public are encouraged to avoid the downtown area tonight.

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