PHILADELPHIA - Governor Tom Wolf and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Saturday urged protestors who had taken to the streets in response to the police custody death of George Floyd to remain peaceful as they demonstrate.
"Everyone should speak out because no one should be at risk of harm because of oppression or racism," Wolf said. "As Pennsylvanians protest, I urge everyone involved to be peaceful and to keep each other safe."
The protests on Saturday began peaceful outside of City Hall and later at the Philadelphia Art Museum. An estimated 500 people gathered for the Justice for George Floyd event, which included a nine minute moment of silence.
"The peaceful protests earlier were touching showings of our collective grief," Kenney said. "The anger being displayed now cannot continue. Please have respect and dignity for each other and return home."
Philadelphia police echoed Kenney's sentiments about the peaceful protestors. Police said via twitter the protestors expressed themselves peacefully and respectfully.
Protests in Center City grew unruly as police patrol cars were set on fire and several businesses were vandalized. Police briefly clashed with police outside the Municipal Services Building during which protestors used a fence to try and break through a line of officers. The controversial statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo was also vandalized.
Late Saturday evening, Wolf signed a disaster emergency declaration that will provide assistance to areas Philadelphia and other areas in Pennsylvania where protests have grown unruly.
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