5 arrested during protest in front of police headquarters

Police headquarters at the Providence Public Safety complex. File photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Five people were arrested Saturday night during a protest in front of the Providence police headquarters that became violent, city officials said.

Providence Police Col. Hugh Clements tells WPRI-TV the protest outside the city’s Public Safety Complex had about 150 participants and was contentious from the time it started at about 8:30 p.m.

He said demonstrators set off flares and threw paint, smoke grenades and other objects at police, who were in riot gear.

Clements said no officers were hurt but a unmarked cruiser had its windows smashed in while officers were inside. Protesters eventually dispersed at around 11 p.m.

“We promote safe, peaceful protests. We will not tolerate violence,” he told the television station.

Clements said four of those arrested face misdemeanor charges but one is facing felony charges. All have been released until their day in court.

Organizers said the nighttime demonstration was in response to the arrest of two Black Lives Matter supporters at a demonstration in front of the police station Thursday.

A separate demonstration also took place earlier Saturday in front of the Statehouse.