Advertisement
  1. News

Protesters splinter into separate groups in St. Pete

Officers were in the area as it started to get dark.
Jonathon Mckinney, 25, center foreground, and Phillip Downes, 19, far center, both of St. Pete, sat in front of patrol vehicles in front of St. Pete Police Headquarters to protest the killing of George Floyd on May 31, 2020. “Change doesn’t happen with inaction, it happens with action,” Downes said.
Jonathon Mckinney, 25, center foreground, and Phillip Downes, 19, far center, both of St. Pete, sat in front of patrol vehicles in front of St. Pete Police Headquarters to protest the killing of George Floyd on May 31, 2020. “Change doesn’t happen with inaction, it happens with action,” Downes said. [ JOSH SOLOMON | Times ]
Published Jul. 2, 2020|Updated Jul. 2, 2020

UPDATE 7 P.M.: On Wednesday night, marchers once again gathered to protest in St. Peterburg. But there were two groups instead of one.

For the second night in a row, about 30 people gathered outside of the St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters where chants died down and instead activists drew on the sidewalk with chalk. They decorated barriers around the building with flowers and homemade signs.

Meanwhile, a smaller group met at the usual spot in front City Hall to march the streets through downtown and the Historic Kenwood neighborhood around 7 p.m.

The two groups were distinctly different, even if many of the faces in the crowd were the same. Terron Gland, the long leader of the St. Pete Peace Protest group, was not among the crowd that calmly protested in front of police headquarters. He was with the usual group that marched in the streets from City Hall. But his familiar counterpart, Will Breeze, known for his spirited commentary and ability to inspire the group, peeled off to be with this new movement.

Gland took to Facebook Tuesday to apologize for previous actions and things he said on the St. Pete Peace Protest page. Despite the apology and the formation of two protest groups, activists remained supportive of each other.

Some at the police station raised their fists in solidarity as the march from City Hall passed by. Some yelled, “hello family!”

Related: St. Pete protesters return to police headquarters

Spencer Cook, who stood outside the police station, said the others were “taking up space in another part of town,” and that it was positive for their movement. The groups did not seem pitted against one another.

As the sun went down, protesters broke out glow sticks as they stood in the crosswalk in front of the police department headquarters, blocking traffic.

Breeze told the group that they were reaching more people, as some of the more aggressive drivers barreled past them with middle fingers pointed. He said it was important to reach not just the people who agree with what they have to say.

Police cars were in the area, and flickered their lights in the dark. But they did not engage with protesters. However, the energy changed among protesters when cops arrived. Their chants grew louder and more targeted.

• • •

Coverage of local and national protests from the Tampa Bay Times

HOW TO SUPPORT: Whether you’re protesting or staying inside, here are ways to educate yourself and support black-owned businesses.

WHAT PROTESTERS WANT: Protesters explain what changes would make them feel like the movement is successful.

WHAT ARE NON-LETHAL AND LESS-LETHAL WEAPONS? A guide to what’s used in local and national protests.

WHAT ARE ARRESTED PROTESTERS CHARGED WITH? About half the charges filed have included unlawful assembly.

CAN YOU BE FIRED FOR PROTESTING? In Florida, you can. Learn more.

HEADING TO A PROTEST? How to protect eyes from teargas, pepper spray and rubber bullets.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge