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Nassau police investigating fire that damaged protester's car in Merrick

Arson Bomb Squad detectives and the Nassau County Fire Marshal's Office are investigating the cause of a fire that damaged a protester's car at the Long Island Rail Road station parking lot in Merrick early Friday, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.

Ryder described the blaze as "a small fire inside a vehicle." He said the vehicle belonged to a protester from Nassau County, but did not characterize the incident further.

"We are looking to see if there was any possibility of an arson," Ryder said. "At this time it's an ongoing investigation."

The fire at the lot on Sunrise Highway was reported at 12:24 a.m. No injuries were reported.

Police said Merrick firefighters extinguished the fire and said a police K-9 team, arson detectives and an investigator from the Fire Marshal's Office all responded to investigate.

Thousands marched from the LIRR train station in Merrick during a protest Thursday and intermittently shut down Sunrise Highway and stretches of Merrick Road in Merrick and Bellmore.

Speaking at Nassau County Executive Laura Curran's daily briefing Friday morning, Ryder stressed that the protests, which he said involved about 6,000 marchers in Bellmore and Merrick, were peaceful.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding the fire to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS. All calls will remain confidential.

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