PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Protests in Pittsburgh were peaceful for several hours, but they turned violent around 4:30 p.m. this afternoon.

As the protests reached PPG Paints Arena, they turned violent.

“And then it was hijacked, and it was hijacked by a group of individuals who put their own self-interest above the interest of the movement,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said.

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The unrest began when Pittsburgh Police brought their mounted unit to the scene.

It was then protestors began throwing water bottles and paper at the horses, eventually chasing the horses away.

It only escalated from there.

Protestors vandalized a Pittsburgh Police Car near PPG Paints Arena and then set it on fire.

According to Pittsburgh Public Safety, multiple police officers and journalists were injured. All are expected to be okay.

They also reported that as protests continued into the evening, several downtown businesses were broken into and looted. Police say they were eventually forced to use gas.

“They’re charging our officers, they’re looting stores, they’re breaking out windows, they’re throwing things at our officers,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert said.

A Saturday evening press conference saw Chief Schubert, Mayor Peduto, and Pittsburgh Public Safety Director William Hissrich saying they believe many of the people causing the issues aren’t from Pittsburgh.

“They’re not here to protest what happened, they’re here to take advantage of the situation and try to throw it their way,” Schubert said.

Schubert classified them as anarchists.

“A lot of the things that we’re seeing are white males, dressed in anarchist, ANTIFA, and they’re the ones who are feeling a lot of this,” Schubert said.

Shelby Cassesse