Protests began early last week all around the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death. SWFL also began holding protests on its own.
Friday evening, Punta Gordaheld another protest, and by all accounts, it was a peaceful one.
“We are very confident that this is going to be a peaceful protest,” said Hipnotique Boutique owner Laurel Infante.
In fact, the community has come together to almost ensure that this will be a peaceful time of remembrance.
“We worked closely all week with the organizers of this protest. We have every reason to believe that their intentions are to hold a peaceful and respectful protest,” said Public Information Officer for the Punta Gorda Police Department, Lieutenant Dylan Renz.
The organizer of the protest, Carson McNamara, agrees and says the goal all along was to protest peacefully.
“Our entire intention has been peaceful from the very start. Our entire message has been peaceful so that’s the expectation that we have for today,” said McNamara.
McNamara wants to remind everyone that these protests are centered around Black Lives Matter and ending police brutality, not displays of violence.
“We’re protesting to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement on a national scale and to receive justice for the victims of police brutality everywhere,” she said.
Renz backs the protesters and their pursuit of unity.
“She wants to show that the police department in this community in Charlotte County stand together,” he said.
Unfortunately, the protestors and their organizers have received some violent threats from the opposition.
“Organizers have said that they’ve received some threats and we wanna make sure that their Constitutional right to protest is upheld,” said Renz.
McNamara said that’s what she is concerned about what others should be focused more on.
“I think my concern more so is not worry with the people who are coming out to protest for the Black Lives Matter movement, but rather the counter-protesters considering the fact that we’ve had a lot of threats from people who disagree with the movement.”
Organizers say they’re expecting about 500 people to attend this evening, barring the rain. A group of volunteers from local veterans groups will be on hand as well just in case violence erupts near the Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida.
Because of the weather forecasts, tonight’s guest speakers were canceled but the march and moment of silence have continued.