Shocking moment protester catches fire during chaotic night

·3-min read

WARNING - DISTURBING CONTENT: A man has caught fire after a molotov cocktail was thrown at crowds during protests in the US.

As protests against police brutality sparked by the death of George Floyd entered their 100th consecutive night on Saturday in Portland, violence escalated and a journalist captured the moment a man was set alight after a molotov cocktail exploded near him.

As a loud bang is heard, flames explode and a man wearing a red beanie can be seen running away from the flames with both feet well-alight, as witnesses rush to him and attempt to extinguish the flames.

A man is set on fire by a molotov cocktail during the Portland protests.
A molotov cocktail was thrown into a crowd, setting one man alight. Source: Brendan Gutenschwager via Storyful

“Get down, get down!” people can be heard screaming as the man desperately tries to put out the flames.

“Take off his shoes!” one man repeats as the flames are finally put out.

The 25-second video has been viewed over 3.5 million times on Twitter.

According to Portland police in Oregon the man set on fire was later offered treatment by Portland Fire and Rescue medics and was taken to hospital in a private vehicle. His injuries were not specified.

A man's legs are on fire as a witness tries to put it out.
Witnesses attempted to put out the flames as the man desperately tried to remove his shoes. Source: Brendan Gutenschwager via Storyful

“Members of the group have thrown Molotov cocktails injuring at least one community member,” a Portland Police Twitter post read.

Another witness who filmed the attack from a different angle shows police in riot gear standing metres away from the incident, none appeared to assist the man who was set alight.

Portland police declared the demonstration on September 5 in Ventura Park a riot, describing many of the demonstrators wearing amour.

“Many in the crowd were carrying large shields and dressed in protective gear including helmets, gas masks, body armour, and all black clothing. It was clear that the intent of the crowd was not peaceful protest.

“This criminal activity presented an extreme danger to life, safety for all community members, and prompted a declaration of a riot,” a Portland police media release reads.

The release details the violence lasted four hours with police creating a human barricade to stop the crowd from heading towards the East Portland Community Policing Centre.

Police said they arrested 59 people after rioters lit fires in the streets and threw “multiple fire bombs at officers”.

One sergeant was directly struck by a commercial grade firework, which burned through his glove and injured his hand. Several officers were struck by rocks in the head, arms, shoulders, and feet.

An Oregon State Police vehicle was damaged by rocks and an unexploded mortar was recovered by police.

Police said of those arrested at least two were wearing body armour, one had a dagger, another had a knife

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