Denver transit resumes after relatively peaceful protest

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Demonstrators hold placards during a protest Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Denver outside the State Capitol over the death of George Floyd who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER  |  Buses and trains began running again in downtown Denver and to Aurora on Tuesday after a relatively peaceful night of demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.

The Regional Transit District said it considered it safe to operate downtown because there were fewer protests being held, but would stop service out of downtown at 6:30 p.m. and close the two main transit hubs to ensure riders and vehicles are out of the area before the city’s 9 p.m. curfew takes effect.

Downtown service had been suspended since protests began on Thursday night. Most days have seen several waves of protests throughout the day, with largely peaceful demonstrations during the day and more unruly protests at night.

Some protesters have sprayed graffiti on the Capitol and other buildings, broke windows and started fires in dumpsters. A man is suspected of intentionally driving his car at police officers Saturday.

Police have used tear gas to disperse people, most recently around midnight Monday against some who stayed near the Capitol despite the curfew. Police said 54 people were arrested Monday, the vast majority of them for violating the curfew. One was also accused of having a concealed weapon.

Since the protests started,338 people have been arrested, police said. Besides violating the city’s curfew, which started Saturday night, protesters have been arrested for alleged burglary, public fighting, throwing stones or missiles, destroying property and having dangerous weapons.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock have criticized President Donald Trump’s threat to send the military to places that have seen violence and vandalism as “unproductive.”

On Tuesday, Polis told reporters Trump was so “out of touch” that was unaware of what was really happening in many streets in Denver and across the country. Polis referred to thousands who protest peacefully and many who volunteer to clean trash, debris and graffiti after protests.

In a statement late Monday, they said that police from Denver and surrounding communities and a small contingent of the Colorado National Guard providing support have been working to support peaceful demonstrations in the city and there was no reason to deploy troops.

“Denver is not Little Rock in 1957, and Donald Trump is not President Eisenhower. This is a time for healing, for bringing people together, and the best way to protect civil rights is to move away from escalating violence,” the Democrats said.