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George Floyd protests in Manassas left streets blocked, residents told to shelter in place

Protesters disrupted traffic from the Sudley Road Corridor from I-66 to the Manassas Mall. Police want citizens to shelter indoors.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Manassas Police were called to the scene of an "unlawful assembly" of a group of protesters in the area of Liberia Avenue on the second night of demonstrations following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

Police are asking people to avoid the area while officers work to safely disperse the crowd.

Prince William County Police and other law enforcement agencies in the area had to de-escalate protests that happened around the county near Manasses, as protests continued Saturday into Sunday.

On Saturday, the Prince William County Police Department said protesters disrupted traffic from the Sudley Road Corridor from Interstate 66 to the Manassas Mall. Police also asked residents to shelter in place Saturday evening as protests that started out as peaceful, turned violent. 

Virginia State Police were called to the area of Sudley Manor Road to help Prince William County police with traffic and crowd control due to a large gathering of George Floyd protesters, police said. 

Five people were arrested and several small fires were started during the protests, according to Prince William County Police. Arrests were made for assaults on police, and one person was arrested for a DUI and other offenses for driving through a police perimeter, nearly striking officers posted at the location.

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The protests reportedly started around 5 p.m., but with crowds of people ranging in numbers upwards of 300, things changed. 

Protesters turned violent and began throwing bricks, rocks and bottles at passing cars and at police, officials said.

It was reported that one state police trooper suffered a minor injury after he was struck in the head with a brick and his helmet took the brunt of the impact. Police said a second trooper also suffered a minor injury and was struck in the leg with a rock.

Prince William County Police shared that protesters could be seen standing on cars, causing destruction to businesses along the Sudley Road corridor and block roadways. 

After several attempts of asking protesters to disperse the scene, state police used pepper spray and powder to remove the crowd, officials said.

"If you live in the area; shelter in place indoors until further notice," said the department in a Facebook post on Saturday evening. "Unlawful assembly was declared, all persons must vacate the area."

As the night continued, protesters left the area around 1 a.m. Sunday, with crowds thinning out during the early morning hours.

"Justice for George Floyd" protests sparked after video surfaced showing George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer.

Protests erupted nationwide days after Floyd’s death calling for the arrests of all the officers involved after a Memorial Day viral video showed Floyd being pinned down by his neck by then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Floyd, who is repeatedly heard in the video saying he can't breath and asking for Chauvin to get off his neck, died that day.

The Minneapolis mayor on Tuesday fired all four officers involved in the incident. On Friday, Chauvin was arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death. But the other three officers who were involved in the incident have not yet been arrested or charged, with prosecutors in Minnesota on Friday saying that charges are likely forthcoming.

D.C. and Manassas are among cities across the nation who held protests Friday night demanding the remaining three officers involved in Floyd's death to be arrested and charged.

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