Eritrean gangs clash in 10-hour riot during 'cultural celebration', attack police officers, set tractor-trailer on fire in North Carolina

Rioters allegedly assaulted police officers with sticks, rocks, and other projectiles.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
On Saturday, North Carolina authorities arrested eight African Eritrean migrants on charges including riot and assault during a cultural festival in Charlotte.

The riot was sparked by a clash between rival Eritrean gangs, which resulted in a standoff lasting more than 10 hours. Rioters allegedly assaulted police officers with sticks, rocks, and other projectiles, and also set fire to a tractor. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department responded to the scene.

Police said one female was arrested and charged with inciting to riot, failure to disperse, injury to personal property, and assault on a government official. She reportedly assaulted an officer had been in possession of a firearm during the riot. Police seized the weapon.

The other seven rioters were charged with impeding traffic and failure to disperse.

The incident occurred around 11:30 am on Saturday in the parking lot of a business hosting the Eritrean cultural celebration on Monroe Road. CMPD responded to calls of an "unlawful protest." After arriving on the scene, officers issued a dispersal order but the group refused to comply. The group was spilling out onto the public road, police said.

Around 3:00 pm, bike officers attempted to move the group out of the street but were assaulted by the group which impacted officers' ability to effectively disperse the rioters.

The department said: "Several protesters threw objects and pushed back against the officers. Officers then deployed pepper spray. Multiple protesters and officers were treated on scene for injuries related to the pepper spray."

Shortly after 6:00 pm, officers issued another order to disperse. This time the group had been blocking the entrance to the private business hosting the celebration. The group then set fire to a nearby tractor trailer, police said.


"The officers were met with violence and hostility, with protesters throwing objects," said the department in a press release, per Fox News. "Over the course of several hours, the CEU gave multiple dispersal orders in English and Spanish and were again met with violence from protesters wielding sticks, rocks and other items."

"Protesters then intentionally set fire to a nearby tractor trailer. The Charlotte Fire Department quickly extinguished the fire and contained the scene," police said. "Shortly before 9 p.m., officers assisted with allowing the cultural event attendees to leave the scene. Protesters remained on scene initially but dispersed a short time later."

A similar riot broke out at The Hague in the Netherlands also on Saturday. Eritrean migrants broke into the opera house, attacked police officers, and torched police vehicles.
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