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Fire breaks out at courthouse in California during tense late night protests

Demonstrators broke windows, spray-painted graffiti, set off fireworks and pointed lasers at officers, police said

A protester watches as a mall fire burns in the entrance of the Alameda County Courthouse
A protester watches as a mall fire burns in the entrance of the Alameda County Courthouse
Image: Christian Monterrosa via PA Images

PROTESTERS IN CALIFORNIA set fire to a courthouse, damaged a police station and assaulted officers after a peaceful demonstration intensified last night, police in Oakland have said.

Demonstrators broke windows, spray-painted graffiti, set off fireworks and pointed lasers at officers, the Oakland department said on Twitter.

Several tweets called for peace and asked organisers to “help us provide safe spaces and safe places for demonstrators”.

The protest began earlier yesterday evening with groups such as the Wall Of Moms, similar to a group that formed in Portland, Oregon, as protesters faced off with US agents deployed to that city to guard a federal courthouse.

US President Donald Trump had sent the federal agents to clamp down on protests that have occurred nightly since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May.

The protest in Oakland began peacefully, but turned violent later into the night.

An “unlawful assembly” was declared by police at around 11.30pm local time and officers asked the crowd to disperse.

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racial-injustice-california Police chase after protesters who refused to disperse at a protest in Oakland yesterday Source: Christian Monterrosa via PA Images

The fire broke out at the Alameda County Superior Courthouse and was contained a short time later, news outlets reported.

Police said protesters at one point were “breaking windows and chanting racial slurs at residents”.

Photos tweeted by the department showed broken glass and paint splattered at a police building.

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