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Demonstrators hold peaceful protest in Austin

Protesters in Austin held a peaceful demonstration on Sunday in response to the May 25 death of George Floyd.

Protesters met in Bandshell Park at about 4 p.m. After holding an assembly at the Bandshell, an estimated 200, many holding anti-police brutality signs, marched through Downtown Austin before traveling up Oakland Avenue West and back on First Avenue Southwest.

The Austin Police Department was present to address any safety concerns. Police were also assisted by the Mower County Sheriff’s Office and Mower County Emergency Management with traffic flow. The Austin Fire Department and Mayo Clinic Ambulance were on hand in the event of any medical emergencies. 

The protest concluded around 7:30 p.m. Austin Police Chief David McKichan said the event was peaceful and without incident, other than traffic blockages.

McKichan said the APD was made aware on Friday of the potential for a weekend protest and march. McKichan made contact with the organizers on Friday and about an hour before the event.

While no permit to hold the parade portion of the event was submitted to the City, and therefore not approved, McKichan said the Austin Police Department did assist with traffic control due to the size of the crowd and public safety concerns. 

“We respected that the crowd felt a moral obligation to hold their event due to the death of George Floyd while in police custody,” McKichan said. “We also appreciated that they understood that a similar moral obligation applied to protecting their community while expressing those thoughts through the protest. The Austin Police Department is aware that not all share these peaceful goals in our state and region right now.”

McKichan added that normal operations and response to calls for service were not affected during the event. Law enforcement is not aware of any upcoming events at this time.

“We were prepared to ensure that this group’s right to protest was protected,” McKichans said. “We were also prepared to ensure that the citizens of Austin and their property were protected.”