Orlando, among other Florida cities, has enacted a citywide curfew in response to recent protests. After a largely peaceful day of demonstrations, a group of a few hundred people gathered to sit at City Hall last night past curfew in protest of police brutality and the death of George Floyd. Orlando police used tear gas to disperse the crowds, claiming to do so in response to some protestors throwing water bottles and rocks.
The fourth day of protests concluded in downtown Orlando last night with a City Hall sit-in that extended past curfew.
FOX 35 reported that police warned protesters over loudspeakers to disperse, forming a line to begin driving them off of the property. After protesters failed to leave, the police moved forward with additional measures.
An official statement was posted to the Orlando Police’s Twitter account expressing their appreciation for the peaceful protestors while also explaining why they responded with using tear gas to break up the crowd.
“We appreciate everyone who participated peacefully," the statement reads. "Unfortunately a few remaining protestors threw rocks and water bottles at officers, so we had to deploy smoke and eventually tear gas after continued aggression.”
FOX 35 reports the opposite: "Police told demonstrators to leave when the 10 p.m. curfew began and when protesters did not budge, the tear gas was deployed. That was met with flying water bottles directed at police officers."
Statement on tonight's demonstrations. https://t.co/OMNMvboKho— Orlando Police (@Orlando Police)1591152467.0
Another tweet followed at 11 p.m. stating that all streets were reopened throughout downtown Orlando.
Orlando Sentinel reported that the main crowd in downtown Orlando consisted of young adults wearing masks, toting signs, and repeating rallying cries of “silence is violence,” “no justice, no peace,” and “black lives matter.”
All streets are now reopened throughout @DWNTWN_ORLANDO.— Orlando Police (@Orlando Police)1591153433.0
The Tuesday protests started with a peaceful planned rally, which drew thousands of protesters and saw numerous speakers calling for the election of state officials who would prosecute police and push for police reform, as well as living wages.
Several stories of solidarity have cropped up during this time, including the emotional meeting of a worried mother and daughter with two Orange County deputies, who came to the family’s home to comfort them and educate them on recent protests and police kneeling to shake hands with protesters and share in the grief surrounding George Floyd's death.
As posted to The City Beautiful's Instagram account, the Orlando curfew continues to be in effect across the city.
*Cover photo for illustrative purposes only.