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Walsh Calls Boston Riots, Looting 'An Attack On Our City And Its People'

BOSTON (CBS) – Mayor Marty Walsh sharply criticized the people who caused damage and chaos in Boston Sunday night at the conclusion of largely peaceful protests in response to the death of George Floyd.

Photos: Boston Protests Over George Floyd Death Turn Into Riots

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Walsh said nine police officers were hospitalized and dozens were treated in the field after riots broke out at the conclusion of demonstrations that involved thousands of people.

In addition, 18 bystanders were hospitalized and "untold economic damage" was done during a night that featured looting and vandalism.

"I want to say to all of those peaceful demonstrators your words, your testimony, your call to action, move me. And you are moving our society forward. And we will continue that conversation and lead that progress. Because that's where we are in Boston," said Walsh. "But what happened in downtown after the protests ended, was an attack on those values. And it was an attack on our city and its people."

Boston Riots
Protesters throw back smoke canisters during clashes with police during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis Police custody, in Boston on May 31, 2020. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

Walsh said the riots hurt the cause of members of the black community who are "fed up" with situations like the death of Floyd.

"Don't lose sight of George Floyd's murder and what demonstrators are trying to do. People are tired, people are fed up. The actions of some last night hurt that cause and hurt a community that is already hurting, more than anyone should ever have to bear," said Walsh.

Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said 53 people were arrested Sunday night into Monday morning. Of those arrests, 27 were Boston residents, 24 were from outside the city, and two were from other states. One person who was summonsed was from out of state.

"We had people from everywhere - from inside of Boston to greater Boston, from all of our Commonwealth to come in and peacefully protest, an homage of Mr. George Floyd," said Gross. "I can tell you right now. I'm very proud of that. I can tell you right now. I'm very proud of our community stakeholders that led groups of young black men and women, and all of God's children to downtown Boston to peacefully protest."

A crowd gathered at Nubian Square Sunday evening (WBZ-TV)

Walsh said that the destruction was particularly harmful to the city as it works to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

"This was the very last thing that our city quite honestly needed," said Walsh. "Some of those stores have been hurt badly by the pandemic and a just on the verge of coming back. They're fighting to survive their workers are fighting to support their families. First responders are taking extra risks with every interaction that they have thousands of city employees are working around the clock to protect our city from a pandemic. I want to offer my sympathy and support to all of those who are hurt by last night's events."

The National Guard was called into Boston as the violence broke out.

"I commend the Boston Police officers, I commend the officers from the outside agencies, the law enforcement councils, I commend the National Guard, State Police, and everyone that said 'No, this can't happen here in Boston,'" said Gross.

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