COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Protesters have assembled outside Ohio’s capitol building Sunday afternoon, asking for “justice now.”
This is the fourth consecutive day demonstrators have gathered outside of the statehouse.
Nearly 60 people were arrested in Columbus Saturday after the second night of protests turned violent in the city.
Protesters gathered outside the Ohio Statehouse and through downtown Columbus Saturday, demonstrating against police brutality after the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody on Monday.
Columbus police say 59 people were arrested after Saturday’s protests and a city-wide curfew has been enacted from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. until Mayor Andrew Ginther chooses to rescind it. Anyone outside without authorization during the curfew window can be arrested.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine activated the National Guard to assist Columbus police with the violence. While many protesters chose to remain peaceful, some demonstrators chose to throw objects at police, break and vandalize city property, set fires to buildings and vehicles, and broke into businesses.
“Our city has had enough,” police stated.
Columbus police say all downtown streets are closed indefinitely and anyone who needs to go downtown for work will be required to show ID.
Exemptions from the curfew include:
- Law enforcement, fire and medical personnel;
- Members of the news media;
- Individuals traveling directly to and from work;
- Individuals seeking care, fleeing dangerous circumstances or experiencing homelessness.
“I understand the anger and frustration that has led to these protests – and I share them. Racism, discrimination and injustice have led us to this moment. I want to assure our residents we are making real change and are committed to confronting racism where we see it,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther in a press release. “But at this moment some people are intent on causing chaos and destruction, not on creating positive change in our community and threaten to drown out the voice of demanding justice and our collective safety.”
The protest comes after two nights of protests in downtown Columbus that turned violent, prompting police to declare a state of emergency for the third day in a row.
Overall, Saturday’s protest remained largely peaceful, with police warning demonstrators to stay on the sidewalk. However, several individuals chose to act violently and clashed with authorities.
Peaceful protests in Columbus turned violent Thursday night and continued again on Friday and Saturday. The Ohio Statehouse and several businesses were vandalized.
Eric Halperin, a reporter for our sister station WCMH, shared photos of some of the objects demonstrators elected to throw at police.
U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Betty of Ohio and a Columbus council member were reportedly pepper-sprayed by police while taking part in the protests. She says she attended to protest to show her support against injustice and was trying to keep the peace among protesters when she was sprayed.
“The majority of demonstrators want simply to be heard, and we welcome the voices of the individuals who are focusing attention on the tragic death of George Floyd and on other injustices,” said Gov. DeWine said during a news conference Saturday. “But, sadly, these voices calling for justice and change are being drowned out by a smaller group of violent individuals who threaten the safety of the citizens of our community. Acts of violence will not be accepted nor tolerated. This violence must stop.”
Columbus Police also report that five people were arrested Friday night. Nationwide more than 1,400 people in 17 U.S. cities have been arrested since Thursday. While most protests being held in Floyd’s name have been peaceful, several have erupted in violence.