ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A peaceful protest was held Monday outside the Hall of Justice in downtown Rochester.
Out of “abundance of caution for the safety of all,” New York State Unified Court System made the decision to close the Hall of Justice in Rochester early Monday.
Protesters chanted “black lives matter,” “hands up, don’t shoot,” and “I can’t breath.” At one point, they all laid on the ground with their hands behind their backs, chanting George Floyd’s name for eight minutes to honor him.
There was some confusion throughout the day surrounding whether or not the protest would happen. It turns out it was postponed, but a group of around 40 people showed up and demonstrated anyway.
“We love to be here, it was supposed to be a peaceful protest, a sit-in, even if we have to sit on the sidewalk for as long as possible, anything that we can do,” said protester Kevonna Buchanan.
“I’m here for justice, I’m here for the black community, I’m with them, I stand with them, I support them,” said protester Catie Bohn. “I will always fight for them they have been oppressed for thousands of years and there hasn’t been a change, and that’s what the priority is: change.”
This follows an eventful weekend in Rochester. A peaceful Black Lives Matter rally Saturday afternoon turned violent in the evening hours. Police vehicles were vandalized, tear gas was deployed, cars were lit on fire, and those events outside the Public Safety Building preceded more looting and destruction around the area Saturday.
As a result of those events Saturday, five people suffered non-life threatening injuries and 13 people were arrested. Rochester police officials say more arrests are coming, and late Sunday night police officials released the photos of 11 people wanted in connection to the violent protest.
Still, despite the destruction that consumed the community Saturday, an outpouring of community support followed. Thousands of volunteers pitched in Sunday morning to help clean and restore areas in and around the city.
In anticipation of more violence and looting Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo authorized an additional 200 New York State Police troopers to help patrol the region, with the National Guard on standby. With a county-wide curfew enacted, and additional police resources, Sunday night was relatively peaceful and quiet in the Rochester community.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.