RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A demonstration against the end of the moratorium on evictions put in place in Virginia due to the coronavirus pandemic led to a courthouse window being smashed and chemical irritants released on the crowd by deputies.
The incident came after hundreds of demonstrators in Richmond were seen chanting “Eviction is violence” and other slogans as they marched from the John Marshall Courts Building to the Executive Mansion on Wednesday, news outlets reported.
The ban on evictions was originally put in place in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and was extended earlier in June. But an order issued by the state’s high court last week said courts may resume hearing eviction cases Monday.
On Wednesday, Richmond sheriff’s deputies wrestled two protesters to the ground after they entered the court building and attempted to stage a sit-in demonstration, NBC 12 reported. When other demonstrators tried to make their way inside the building, deputies released the chemical irritants into the crowd, the news outlet reported.
That’s when demonstrators threw water bottles at the deputies, and an object was thrown into the courthouse that smashed its window.
The Richmond Sheriff’s Office told The Richmond Times-Dispatch two people arrested during the protest were later released on bond. Deputies did not confirm the total number of arrests.
After the court’s decision, Gov. Ralph Northam announced his administration is putting an initial $50 million in federal coronavirus-relief funds toward housing assistance.
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