Officials in Washington, D.C., recognize that people are angry and frustrated, but "tearing up our beautiful city is not the way to bring attention to a righteous cause," Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday, following violence in the city that included defacing landmarks such as the Lincoln and World War II memorials.
"We're certainly very sad and angry, quite frankly, about the destruction that happened here," Bowser told NBC's Craig Melvin on "Today." "We had damage in blocks throughout the city. We want people — we recognize people are frustrated and mad but tearing up our beautiful city is not the way to bring attention to what is a righteous cause."
Bowser added that there were signs of professional protesters being involved, as there were people who arrived to protest bearing tools and supplies, and "they re-upped their supplies."
"They went to different parts of the city," she said."We think there was a mix of people here but certainly [there were] people here who do this type of protest demonstration. We've seen some of these tactics before, so we know they were among the groups here."
Initially, Bowser was reluctant to call in the National Guard or set a curfew, but she changed her mind after the police and intelligence "suggested we were seeing the same actors and we wanted to make sure we had every tool at our disposal to keep the city safe."
Curfew was set at 11 p.m., drawing fire from critics such as White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. However, later on Monday, Bowser said during a press conference that the curfew has been rolled back to 7 p.m. and will not be lifted until some time Tuesday morning.
Police Chief Peter Newsham said during the Monday press conference that there was expansive damage done Sunday night during rioting in northeast Washington, upper northwest Washington, and the Georgetown areas.
He agreed that the "antagonists" appeared to be "organized" and police had to use pepper spray and stingball grenades to control the crowds. Several people were arrested after violating the 11 p.m. curfew.
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