JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Demanding justice and equality, demonstrators returned to downtown Jacksonville to start a new week pushing for change.
Monday’s protests were very different than those over the weekend, where an estimated 200 of the 1,200-plus protesters clashed with police, resulting in more than 70 arrests.
Demonstrators Monday focused their attention on the lawn of the Duval County courthouse but marched throughout downtown.
“We’re tired,” they chanted. “We’re tired.”
They said they were protesting all police brutality, not just the George Floyd death.
“Whether you’re black, Asian, Puerto Rican, it doesn’t matter,” said Isaiah Starhawk. “Your life does matter. And we’re all the same. And this is a peaceful rally of people coming together because we are just fed up.”
A police officer announced his presence on the loudspeaker but did not leave his cruiser.
“Thank you for your assistance and cooperation in maintaining order and civility today,” he said.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officers were watching from a distance, positioned on corners around downtown. The Florida Highway Patrol was also called in as a precaution. Many staged in parking garages, inside the courthouse and at nearby police headquarters.
Over the weekend some protesters clashed with police; conflicts that ended with arrests, injured officers and vandalism.
“The longer you go destroying stuff you just making yourself a bigger target,” said Ricardo Conliffe, a demonstrator. “They’ve got the message, now stand down.”
“I’m not going anywhere, I’m not backing down and I’m not telling everybody what they’re doing is wrong,” Uvonda Jones countered.
Jones led the group in prayer.
“Father God we ask you to protect our youth, they are crying out for a change,” Jones said.
The times are almost too much for some to handle.
“They’re 25 and 29,” said Tonia Prysock. “I’m scared for my sons to go out the door because I’m not sure if they’re going to make it home. My sons are fathers, they have jobs, they’ve never been in trouble. But my son has walked out the door walking a dog and been surrounded by six police officers.”
While the crowd grew throughout the afternoon, there were no major conflicts between police and protesters.
The demonstrators said they will continue pushing for what they believe is right as long as needed.