Florence chief says no incidents in weekend protests
FLORENCE – Police Chief Ron Tyler said the first weekend under new protest regulations went smoothly.
The regulations, which started Friday night, call for protesters and counterprotesters downtown to remain in designated areas for events that involve noise and formal gatherings.
However, people still are allowed to leave those designated areas and even carry signs, as long as they are silent and not disturbing the peace, Tyler said. That is what many did Friday night and Saturday night.
The weekend night protests have become common downtown, with a group led by Project Say Something protesting for social justice issues. The protests started as a movement to have the Confederate monument moved from the front of the Lauderdale County Courthouse to the Soldier’s Rest in Florence City Cemetery, and that remains an objective.
Since then, counterprotesters have shown up, as well.
The Police Department regulation now calls for protesters to contain rallies to the area south of Tennessee Street, west of South Court Street, and east of Pine Street, according to the regulations. Counterprotesters holding rallies must remain south of Tennessee Street, east of South Court Street, and west of Seminary Street, police said.
“Our priorities at protests are twofold: number one to maintain order, and number two to ensure public safety,” Tyler said. “My agenda is to maintain public order and ensure the safety of the public and that was accomplished.”
He said the plan will continue in this method.