The fourth night of protests in Raleigh ended peacefully Tuesday night, with protesters marching downtown for two hours past curfew before dispersing without incident. Unlike the weekend’s protests, which turned chaotic, police kept their distance and did not interfere.
Protests started peacefully Saturday and Sunday but took a dark turn after police tried to break up the crowds by deploying tear gas. After sundown, small groups of protesters spread throughout downtown smashing windows, setting fires, and looting local businesses. The destruction resulted in nearly every window on South Wilmington and Fayetteville Street being shattered.
Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin issued an 8:00 p.m. curfew for Monday, calling for an end to the violence. A small group of protesters peacefully demonstrated downtown until about 9:00 p.m. that night before dispersing peacefully.
On Tuesday, several hundred protesters converged in front of Raleigh’s city hall to have their voices heard by the city council, which was meeting virtually. A group of about two dozens police officers stood guard, at one point taking a knee with the protesters and exchanging fist bumps and hugs.
But not everyone was happy with the cops’ show of solidarity.
“Any one of these guys would have stood by for eight minutes as that cop kneeled on George Floyd’s neck,” one young man yelled.
Others in the crowd asked why Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown was not there.
After Tuesday’s curfew took effect at 8:00 p.m., the protesters marched through downtown towards the Governor’s Mansion, where they sat peacefully for an hour, at one point observing eight minutes of silence to symbolize the time George Floyd was pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer.
Police in riot gear remained staged in front of the Wake County Sheriff’s Office downtown and did not follow the protesters. Police vans with speakers mounted on top occasionally drove by the protesters blasting a recording warning them to leave immediately or risk arrest.
After an hour sitting peacefully in front of the Governor’s Mansion, the protesters began to march, walking several miles before ending up back in front of City Hall after 10:00 p.m. They then dispersed without incident, with some vowing to return Wednesday.
Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at email@example.com.
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