Peaceful protestors fill Fayetteville courthouse square Friday

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More than 200 people filled the sidewalks on both sides of Glynn Street in downtown Fayetteville on June 5, protesting the death of black lives at the hands of law enforcement. Met with the honking of hundreds of horns from passing vehicles showing solidarity, the group arrived at the site after holding a brief rally at the adjacent county complex. Photo/Ben Nelms.
More than 200 people filled the sidewalks on both sides of Glynn Street in downtown Fayetteville on June 5, protesting the death of black lives at the hands of law enforcement. Met with the honking of hundreds of horns from passing vehicles showing solidarity, the group arrived at the site after holding a brief rally at the adjacent county complex. Photo/Ben Nelms.

It was a protest rally for awareness, unity and solidarity. That mission was accomplished on June 5 in downtown Fayetteville. Peaceful throughout by design, the protest began at the county complex and moved to the old courthouse where the horns of endless vehicles honked in support of the group of more than 200.

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Like others in Fayette County and around the country, the Friday, June 5 protest came as a result of the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis on May 25 after Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee pressed on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes on the street during an arrest.

Organized by Fayetteville residents Latisha Ajila and Diana Galloway, more than 200 people on Friday gathered around the fountain at the county complex to hear brief remarks before making their way to the old courthouse a block away.

Ajila said the purpose of the rally was to bring awareness, solidarity and unity, and to stand up for justice.

She read a poem that began with the words, “When you look at me, what do you see…”

The point brought by Ajila was made, and the large group heard her words.

Smiling and animated, local pastor Real Talk Kim also shared words for the crowd assembled around the fountain.

“One person can change the world, and that is you,” she said.

Also giving brief remarks was city Planning and Zoning Commissioner Toby Spencer, who said the county has been divided for too long.

“This is the day we say enough is enough. I hope that this is this day,” he said.

Spencer represented a cross-section of city staff and officials at the protest rally.

One of those was Police Chief Scott Gray, who agreed with people saying they are tired of the deaths.

“I’m tired of it, too, ” said Gray. “This police department has said it is wrong, and that’s not who we are.”

The crowd responded to each of the speakers with rounds of applause.

That applause continued with the words of co-organizer Diana Galloway, who told the protesters she has been a resident of Fayetteville for 25 years.

Making the heartfelt point that was clear in her voice, Galloway said, “I have neighbors of different colors, and we love each other.”

In all, the speakers and the crowd were honest and respectful. And their point was made.

Gray soon led the group across the intersection of Glynn Street and Stonewall Avenue to the old courthouse while officers stopped traffic at the busy intersection. The protesters first lined the block in front of the old courthouse, with others later moving across the street.

They held signs and chanted, “No justice, no peace” and “I can’t breathe,” a reference to George Floyd.

For those unfamiliar with downtown Fayetteville, the intersection is where two state highways cross. And on a Friday afternoon, there is a wealth of traffic flowing through the city.

Throughout their stay on the street, motorists in their vehicles by the hundreds honked their horns in support of the efforts and the message of the protesters on the sidewalk. Providing a mobile venue of solidarity, the melding together made the entire scene something fascinating to watch.

Black and white, they came together for a reason, and did so respectfully. And the mission was accomplished.

1 COMMENT

  1. A few thousand people walked from the Pavillion tothe Fayetteville Court House. Fayetteville police blocked traffic as the people walk down Jeff Davis Blvd the line of people streching for neartly a mile. Gracious supporters provided bottled water on the route.

    Local Politicians attended in Support. Each in turn expressing support for the people and thier constiutional right to speach and assembly.

    Fayetteville police cleared the road for the people to walk back to their cars at the pavillion. Crossing GA 85 going south down to the court house and then later going north back to the pavillion the Fayetteville Police were like Moses parting the waters so the Isearlites could pass. Innumerable people honked and shouted enthusiastic suport.

    The civil rights event disrupted traffic in Fayetteville for 2 hours.

    Many of those who were driving in Fayetteville this afternoon know the number of people attending the civil rights event numbered more like a thousand. You saw them walking en masse across GA 85 and across GA 54.

    THe event I know far exceeeded all expectation for attendance. People understand that even in Fayetteville we are at a pivotal moment. The democratic impulse of the people could not be suppressed.