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Justice for George Floyd protest ends peacefully in Fort Smith

More than 200 protesters met at the intersection of Rogers Avenue and Waldron Road from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Hundreds came out to a 'Justice for George Floyd' protest in Fort Smith Thursday (June 4).

More than 200 protesters met at the intersection of Rogers Avenue and Waldron Road from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

Organizers say it was a peaceful protest and urged those who attended to wear a face mask because of COVID-19.

“It’s not just about George Floyd, it’s about everybody. It’s about we can’t breathe,” Cornelius Hayes said.

Hays says when he saw the video of what happened to George Floyd, he saw his son, brothers and cousins as the ones being knelt on. He says we can't tell each other how to feel in a moment like this.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life," Hayes said. "Everything that’s been challenging and now we’re all together as one. There is no such thing as color anymore. It’s us human beings against the corrupt government.”

Protest organizer Cassandra Lopeman says these protests won't be enough until there is change.

“To be blunt I was born with this privilege, this society thing," Lopeman said. "It’s not right what so ever and until someone of color can walk down the street and have the same privilege as me, this will keep going.”

Fort Smith Police Chief Danny Baker was at the protest to show his support and to also make sure protesters stayed safe.

After the protest ended, police thanked everyone for coming out and keeping it peaceful by providing everyone with free snow cones.

“I want them to know that the police department, this what we are doing out here is not for show," Chief Baker said. "This is not any kind of publicity stunt. This is who we are. We are truly embedded and believe in this community and want people to know we are part of them.”

Mayor George McGill says Fort Smith residents are amazing and set a great example on how to exercise your Constitutional rights.

“I’m so proud of our young people," Mayor McGill said. "It’s an amazing sight to see how we do things and we do it differently than most and the rest of the world is going to see who we are in this Arkansas River Valley.”

Everyone cleared out after the protest ended and organizers say they are very happy with how many people came out.

Another protest is scheduled on Zero Street and Jenny Lind Saturday (June 6) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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