Protests continue in downtown Savannah ahead of city-wide curfew

Peaceful protest in front of Savannah City Hall on Sunday

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A protest scheduled Sunday in Savannah remained peaceful near City Hall.

The protests are part of the nationwide outcry after a video was released of a white Minneapolis Police officer kneeling on the neck of a black man suspected of forgery. That man, George Floyd, later died.

The march started at Johnson Square and ended right in front of City Hall.

Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter said he was pleased with how everything went. He and Mayor Van Johnson say they’re proud Savannahians showed up and practiced their right to protest.

Johnson says law enforcement needed to see this on Sunday. He says he hopes officers think twice before they take action that deprives someone of their civil rights. Johnson says the call to action won’t end here.

Moving forward, he is appointing a blue-ribbon panel to look at different types of disparity around the city.

“We have health disparities, economic disparities, disparities in law enforcement, disparities in education," said Mayor Johnson. "We have professionals in our community that can help us to get that work done. I think the data helps us to draw solutions and helps us to create the strategy.”

Johnson made it a point to say that he will not stand for anyone causing trouble or trashing the city as the evening goes on. Minter did say law enforcement Is ready to protect its citizens and the city.

Hundreds of people filled Bull Street. They marched down to River Street, up to Forsyth, and then back up to the Civic Center where law enforcement is staged.

Governor Brian Kemp tweeted on Sunday that the Georgia National Guard was on standby to assist law enforcement in Savannah and Chatham County. This move comes after protests rocked Atlanta over the weekend.

Mayor Van Johnson held a press conference on Saturday, announcing that he would be attending the protests on Sunday.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson issued a curfew beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday evening. The curfew order will be lifted at 7 a.m. and will be implemented as seen fit in the coming days.

“We have experienced a great day of peaceful demonstrations, necessary dialogue, unity and solidarity,” said Mayor Johnson. “We want to continue to ensure the safety of our citizens, visitors and the protection of property. This is an uncomfortable, but necessary step in making that happen.”

Anyone out after the curfew should expect to be stopped and questioned.

You can view the live stream below.

#WATCH: Protesters are continuing their march out of Johnson Square.

Posted by WTOC-TV on Sunday, May 31, 2020

Pictures from Sunday’s protests are available in the gallery below:

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