Salem under curfew as Saturday night protest turns violent

Salem is under a declaration of emergency and curfew for Sunday night following protests in downtown Saturday night related to the Minneapolis death of George Floyd.

City Manager Steve Powers issued the emergency order calling for a curfew “in all public places” from 8 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday. The curfew also was imposed overnight Saturday.

“During the periods the curfew is in effect, travel on any public street, sidewalk or other public place is prohibited,” according to Powers’ order.

He said it doesn’t apply to people commuting to work, performing their job, to get medical care. The curfew also doesn’t apply to unsheltered individuals.

The order came after what witnesses described as a small group of protesters began hurling objects at Salem police. The Salem Police Department reported that “projectiles” and fireworks were thrown at officers.

Salem was among dozens of cities across the U.S. seeing protests. Protests that destroyed property and resulted in arrests were reported in Portland and Eugene Friday and Saturday nights.

Details weren’t immediately available on whether there were arrests or injuries in Salem’s downtown protest Saturday night.

Powers tied the Salem action to nationwide anger over the death of Floyd. He died in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25, when a police officer taking him into custody was filmed pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck.

He said that while there have been peaceful protests in the country, “individuals have engaged in unlawful and dangerous activity, including arson, rioting, looting, and destruction of public and private property.”

He said he was issuing the order because of “the possibility of death and injury to persons and destruction of public and private property.” He said threats to public safety “exacerbate the negative impacts already imposed on the community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This story will be updated.

NOTE: Do you have photos from Saturday’s night Salem protest? Or did you participate in it or witness events? Salem Reporter would like to hear from you. Please email [email protected].