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Pews Burned At Basilica Of St. Mary Amid Last Week's Riots

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis says that some of its pews were damaged by fire last week amid the unrest in the Twin Cities following the death of George Floyd.

In a message to the community, the basilica said the damage was done early Thursday morning when bottles of flammable fluid were thrown onto the pews, starting a fire.

Two pews and the floor beneath them were damaged by the flames, the basilica said. Security has since been increased.

In an interview with Catholic News Agency, a spokesperson for the basilica said that the church is focusing on praying for the city, not the damage.

"Our damage in comparison to what is going in the city is really just minimal, and we'd really like to focus on that," the spokesperson said.

The basilica is just one of hundreds of buildings in the Twin Cities to sustain damage following the eruption of anger over Floyd's death. Over the course of several nights, rioters ransacked stores and gas stations, smashed storefronts and burned several buildings to the ground.

Initial estimates of the property damage in Minneapolis are around $55 million and counting. The looting, as well as peaceful protests, have spread to other American cities.

Floyd, a black man, died after being arrested by Minneapolis police over the use of a counterfeit $20 bill. Ex-officer Derek Chauvin, who in a widely-seen cellphone video pressed his knee to Floyd's neck for several minutes, is charged with second-degree murder.

The three other former officers involved Floyd's death have been arrested and charged with aiding and abetting murder.

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