COLUMBUS (WCMH) – For the tenth straight night, protests calling for police reform have taken over downtown Columbus, and for the first time in a week, protesters weren’t required to be off the streets at 10 p.m.
Hundreds of people marched starting around 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Broad and High streets, leading a peaceful march through the downtown near Nationwide Boulevard and back to Broad and High.
Protesters at the front of the march carried mirrored “shields” – large placards covered with reflective material that protesters said reflected the violence police and authorities have perpetrated upon them for the last week.
In addition, protesters carried large signs with sayings such as “Living Wage for All!,” “Fire Quinlan Now!,” and “Stop Macing Us.”
The protests were completely peaceful, with protesters chanting, “This is the people’s street,” “Defund CPD,” “End police brutality now,” among others. At one point, when the march ran up to Ohio National Guardsmen guarding the street, the guardsmen waived the march through its barricade
On Saturday, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther rescinded the curfew he imposed last week hours after a Columbus resident, Jason Woodland, filed a federal lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order against its enforcement.
“Growing up, I experienced it,” said protester Lamont Robinson about why he was marching. “I don’t want my younger brother, my daughter, my sons to experience it. That’s why we’re out here, so they don’t have to.”
Whether it’s been hot or raining, demonstrators have been out every day for the past week and a half.
For 10 days in row, the front of the Statehouse has been one of the main areas for these protests.
Protests have been largely peaceful over the past few days, with thousands rallying for change. Many say Floyd’s death in Minneapolis was a tipping point in a long history of injustice.
“This has been going on for over 400 years,” said one protester. “We need some action and we need it now. It’s 2020 and that’s what I’m doing. I’m doing what I believe in.”
Protesters have gathered at the Statehouse, marched, and usually returned, and that’s happened again Saturday afternoon.
After listening to some speakers, they marched again, this time chanting as they took laps on the sidewalk around the building.
Many of the protesters found out about the curfew being lifted while out marching.
“I think it’s positive to understand that there is an understanding from the other side that people aren’t out here to riot, people aren’t out here to terrorize things, people are out here to make demands for justice,” said protester Kenton Mack. “So, ultimately, peaceful protests like this, it’s a beautiful thing to see.”
“There was definitely not a need for a curfew,” said protester Joshua Williams. “That was just a way to control us, putting us in a box… now we good, so we can continue to peacefully protest and get our voices heard in a safe way.”
Williams said he had been out each of the past 10 days, often times leading changes. He said he will be out here until he sees change.
In addition to the downtown protest, Peace Fest was held at MPACC Box Park on Mount Vernon Avenue. At the peaceful protest for the lives of the black community, participants learned more about voter registration and how to write local leaders.