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Court window smashed, at least 2 arrested in eviction protest

(AP) A demonstration against the end of the state moratorium on evictions 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 chanted “Eviction is violence” and other slogans as they marched from the John Marshall Courts Building to the Executive Mansion July 1, news outlets reported.

The Supreme Court of Virginia’s ban on evictions was originally put in place in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and was extended earlier in June. But a June 22 court order said courts could resume hearing eviction cases July 1.

That day, Richmond sheriff’s deputies wrestled two protesters to the ground after they entered the courthouse and attempted to stage a sit-in demonstration, WWBT reported. When other demonstrators tried to make their way inside the building, deputies released the chemical irritants into the crowd, the television station 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 to end the moratorium, Gov. Ralph Northam announced his administration was putting an initial $50 million in federal coronavirus-relief funds toward housing assistance.

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