Governor signs disaster emergency declaration in response to protests

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FILE – In this Dec. 29, 2015 file photo, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Wolf is attacking local elected officials making plans to reopen in defiance of his shutdown orders as cowards deserting the pandemic battlefield. Wolf threatened Monday, May 11, 2020 to block aid to rebellious counties in an escalating political fight over his administration’s handling of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Governor Tom Wolf has signed a disaster emergency declaration to ensure state agencies can help municipalities as they respond to protests. 

The goal is to make sure communities have the resources needed to keep people safe.

“People have every right to speak out and demonstrate, but it’s unacceptable to take advantage of protests to incite violence, harm others and destroy property,” said Governor Wolf. 

Peaceful protests escalated to violence and criminal acts in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. There were protests in other, smaller cities throughout Pennsylvania that did not.

The Harrisburg Mayor says two Capitol Police officers were hospitalized as a result of Saturday’s events. There is no word on their injuries. 

Several police vehicles were damaged by bricks.

In Philadelphia, 13 officers were injured. Fires burned stores and law enforcement vehicles.

Pittsburgh Police reported “rioting and looting” downtown.

Saturday, the Governor expanded activation of the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. That allows PEMA to direct emergency operations in the impacted counties and allocate personnel as necessary.

The protests began in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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