By Joe Vazquez

CLAYTON (KPIX 5) — A demonstration in the East Bay suburb of Clayton tjat was peaceful for much of the afternoon ended with law enforcement using smoke grenades and tear gas to get the crowd to disperse.

More than 100 protesters, the bulk of them teenagers, gathered in downtown Clayton to honor George Floyd. They were loud but peaceful.

Full Coverage: George Floyd Protests

Many said they wanted to send a message about the importance of white allies in the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The fact that white people are breaking their silence is the biggest step we can be taking,” said Gisela Solis of Pittsburg, who is African-American. “And I just really appreciate it.”

Police gathered to confront the crowd, as did some folks who said they were there to protect businesses.

“There was talk about burning this place down,” said John Robles of Clayton. “And we weren’t going to let that happen.”

At 6 p.m., police issued several warnings for the crowd to disperse because they were in violation of the curfew. After a final warning, a few dozen demonstrators decided to take a stand and refused to leave.

That was when police began deploying diversionary smoke grenades, which demonstrators quickly kicked back. It looked like a short soccer match.

Eventually, Police launched tear gas into the crowd and they dispersed.

Some demonstrators resisted as they retreated. Police continued to throw diversionary smoke grenades, one of which started a small fire.

The protest was over by 7 p.m.

“I think the protest is fully warranted and it was very peaceful until they started throwing canisters,” said one man who was taking his daughter home afterward. “That’s unwarranted.”

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