Citizens in Kenosha, Wisconsin have taken it upon themselves to protect local businesses amid ongoing riots and unrest, with armed vigilantes seen taking to rooftops and storefronts to ward off looting and vandalism.
Kenosha saw its third consecutive night of disorder on Tuesday, sparked after the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, a black man, during a domestic ordeal over the weekend. Protests hours after the incident soon boiled into riots, seeing looters ransack countless businesses on Monday, while arsonists ignited some 37 fires.
The chaos in the city has yet to reach the levels seen the night prior, with armed citizens taking up positions around the city, including on rooftops, to protect local businesses.
KENOSHA: with law enforcement incapable of defending private property Armed groups have begun protecting the city from rioters This man claimed they were friends of the business owner & were carrying only lethal roundsThey successful defended the property from the roof pic.twitter.com/zcWJQNnHOr
— ELIJAH RIOT (@ElijahSchaffer) August 26, 2020
A number of protesters also appeared to be armed in videos that made the rounds online. One livestream captured a shooting in which a young man was said to have been hit in the chest. He was seen being loaded into a car which soon fled the scene, but his current status, and the extent of his injuries, remain unclear. A second person was also reportedly hit in the incident, but it is unknown whether either were affiliated with the protests or merely bystanders.
🚨🚨🚨: Multiple gunshots are fired after people chased a guy with a rifle. Rifle dude tripped and fell. He fired his gun at a guy who jumped on top of him. pic.twitter.com/BfV244MMnc
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) August 26, 2020
Protesters have ignited several small fires, though in some cases other demonstrators were seen extinguishing them. In contrast to previous nights, no major acts of arson were reported, however.
While looting and arson appeared less widespread, clashes again erupted between protesters and police on Tuesday, seeing activists hurl fireworks, bricks and other projectiles at officers, who responded with copious tear gas.
A major courthouse in Kenosha was the scene of many of the clashes, where police have maintained a heavier presence than elsewhere in the city, erecting a barricade around the building.
Wisconsin: #Kenosha county courthouse under siege by #Antifa, #BLM, Associated group, & individuals. Laser, projectiles, Morten fireworks, shields and frontline defense tactics are being used to provoke response from National Guard. pic.twitter.com/dIZ2sY47qK
— Kalen From Scriberr (@FromKalen) August 26, 2020
National Guard troops have also been deployed to the courthouse for a second night, after Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order doubling the Guard’s presence in the city from 125 to 250 personnel and declaring a state of emergency amid the continued riots. According to Trump communications advisor Ben Williamson, local law enforcement had requested a force of 750 Guardsmen, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows offered Evers 500 additional troops, but the governor reportedly refused. Evers has yet to address the allegation.
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