Protesters marched in Delaware this week in response to the death of George Floyd, the unarmed black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
Tensions ran high at a Wilmington protest on Sunday. Peaceful demonstrations in 1898 Park and Wilmington City Hall earlier in the day gave way to what Mayor Bill Saffo told WECT News he saw as “a group of people in here that were hell bent on coming in here to riot or disrupt our community.”
The riots, unaffiliated with organizations such as Black Lives Matter, occurred despite local leaders calling off Sunday night demonstrations.
Officers used rubber bullets, inert gas, and CS gas to disperse protesters. Wilmington Police Department spokeswoman Linda Thompson said that police needed to clear protesters because the street was not properly blocked off, leaving open the risk of cars injuring protesters.
May 31 protests in Dover in front of Legislative Hall and the Dover Police Department progressed peacefully for much of the day.
Only later in the night did the protests give way to looting.
“Me as a leader of that group, that peaceful protest group, I broke it up. We said what we had to say,” DeAndre Valentine, organizer of the Dover protest told WDEL. “Let this not be one day of our voice, but many days of our voice.”
In Rehoboth, a peaceful protest was cancelled Monday after reports that Antifa disruptors planned to riot in the small beach town. A massive police presence rolled into town, with officers blocking access to outlet store parking lots along Route 1. Police from nearby jurisdictions were called in to support Rehoboth police. A small group of peaceful protesters gathered Monday night in the Rehoboth bandstand and later walked down Rehoboth Avenue without incident. A man brandishing an AK-47 created a stir outside one Rehoboth Avenue restaurant. He later explained he was there voluntarily to protect the establishment from rioters.