Heath Elison

[image-1] Gatherings continued downtown Monday to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, despite at least 35 arrests Sunday, with tear gas fired by police over peaceful protests.

At Broad and Meeting streets, with Charleston County sheriff’s deputies and Charleston police present, a silent protest marched across the busy intersection. Beginning in Washington Square Park, around 40 protesters walked across the street in front of the federal courthouse and post office. Facing the court house from across the street, they kneeled for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time an officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck, as he gasped for breath.

The group silently waited and watched as traffic passed. Once the time had passed, protesters slowly marched to City Hall. Demonstrators placed face masks, bearing the names of police brutality victims, on the building’s front gate.

[image-2] Tiana Morton, a spokesperson for the protesters, said they wanted to do something impactful out of a worry that shouting and marching “was not enough.”

“The riots and looting overshadows [the statement],” Morton said. “So we wanted to figure out a way to get our message across peacefully and quietly because right now all they see is the noise, all they hear is the noise.”

Just a few blocks away at Colonial Lake, a more traditional protest was underway. A massive crowd, bearing Black Lives Matter signs and clothing, marched around the body of water chanting George Floyd’s name.

It was a sight that would look familiar to people who attended the peaceful marches over the weekend. Rallying calls from Cody Dixon, aka rapper Slim S.O.U.L., and the founder of S.O.U.L. Power Productions, were met with a powerful response from protesters.
[image-3] Officers at both protests showed gestures of goodwill that seemed to mean a lot to demonstrators on hand. At the silent protest, CPD quickly blocked the road for protesters ready to move, while at Colonial Lake an officer handed Dixon his card as the 6 p.m. curfew approached. The officer, according to Dixon, wanted to talk with him about the protests.
[content-1] Over the weekend, peaceful protests on Saturday and Sunday had to contend with riots on Saturday night that left many downtown storefronts battered. Officers responded to Saturday night’s string of vandalisms by arresting at least 35 on Sunday despite otherwise peaceful gatherings. The police response does not seem to have deterred protesters so far. “We’re going to be here tomorrow,” Dixon assured the group.

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