Protesters try to stop looting at Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica

Looters attacked the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica on Sunday, the third straight day that local protests against police brutality were marred by criminal activity.  

FOX 11 witnessed a handful of looters attempting to break into the REI store, until a couple of protesters were able to talk them out of it. The protesters were holding signs to end violence and stop from looting.  

One of the protesters said, "We're here for the protests but when we see people looting, it defeats the cause. So we decided we would come here and when we see anything happen - any violence or anything that shouldn't happen - we'll try out best to stop it REI doesn't need to be broken into."

The other protester who defended the store explained that one of the looters threatened to pull a gun on him, but he mentioned he carried and insisted he back off. The protester was also recording the exchange, and once the looter saw the phone, he left.  

RELATED: Local stores looking forward to reopening met with frustration as looters vandalize storefronts

A few hundred people started marching down Ocean Boulevard around noon Sunday, many holding signs protesting Monday's police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

That march was peaceful, but a short time later looting was reported at stores in the popular beachside shopping center, and news footage showed many people running out of stores that had been broken into. 

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The city's police department urged the public to avoid the downtown area, and Los Angeles Police Department units were assisting Santa Monica police.  

City officials imposed a curfew from 4 p.m. Sunday through 5:30 a.m. Monday.  

The 10 Freeway was shut down near its western edge around 2 pm, backing up traffic all the way to the 405 Freeway. 

FOX 11's Shelly Insheiwat contributed to this story