Rowdy crowds met with pepper spray during march to protest deadly arrest of George Floyd
ORLANDO, Fla. - Hundred of protesters marched through Downtown Orlando on Saturday, along Orange Avenue, to let their voices be heard following the deadly arrest of a black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis earlier this week.
In a video recorded by a witness, Officer Derek Chauvin appears to be pressing his knee into the neck of George Floyd. Floyd, 46, is heard begging for air. He later died. Chauvin, 44, was arrested on Friday, five days after the incident, charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
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Orlando police officers closed Orange Avenue during the march, which began earlier in the day near the Pulse Nightclub and continued past Orlando City Hall, then on to the Orange County Courthouse.
Around 8 p.m., several protesters were arrested near City Hall. A FOX 35 News crew witnessed water bottles being thrown at police officers. Officers responded by pepper-spraying some people in the crowd. At some point, fireworks were also set off in the street.
"What happened to George Floyd was horrific and unacceptable," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer tweeted Saturday evening. "In our city, we will always support the right for residents to safely protest to show their anger and frustration over injustices like this. Together we should use our voices to peacefully enact change."
It should be noted that protesters had been peaceful for most of the afternoon. It was not immediately clear if any injuries had been reported to protesters or law enforcement officers.
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"I'm upset! I'm hurt! I'm raising my children in this," said one protester. "That's why I'm out here, because if we don't get no justice, it's not going to be no peace." She added, "because our black lives matter, my life matters, his life matters, my kids' lives matter, your life matters, all of our lives matter."
Inclement weather helped disperse the crowds somewhat, but police were advising people to avoid the area.