RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two people were arrested Wednesday after an anti-eviction protest at the John Marshall Courts Building in Richmond ended with demonstrators being pepper-sprayed and the courthouse being vandalized. The courthouse was forced to close due to the protest.
Videos shared with 8News and on social media show protesters being hit with pepper spray by deputies and some trying to break the windows of the courthouse. One window was shattered, prompting the courthouse to close.
On Thursday, crews cleaned up the courthouse doorway and covered the damaged window with a board. According to the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office, two people who were arrested were released on bond.
One man told 8News that the protest began with speeches, a walk to the governor’s mansion and then to City Hall before going back to the courthouse. He mentioned the city’s high eviction rate when stressing the importance of the protest.
“Those folks who had gotten pepper spray or mace on them were walked away from the windows. They were taken care of by medics. They had their eyes flushed out,” he said. “Richmond Virginia has the second highest eviction rate of any city in the country.”
The moratorium on all eviction proceedings, ordered by Gov. Ralph Northam, expired on June 28. Protesters said the rally was to ask for an extension.