Peaceful protest in East Liverpool
Morning Journal/Stephanie Ujhelyi
Chants of “no justice, no peace” and “silence is consent “ and signs reading “black lives matter,” “say their names” and “I cannot breathe” filled the air for nearly two hours, as 100 activists lined West Sixth Street Saturday afternoon in front of East Liverpool City Hall to express their opposition to racial inequality and police brutality. Unlike other protesters in the larger cities, like Cleveland, the rally was mostly about getting their voices heard without riots and looting. It was all hands on deck as police prepared for the worst from protesters, who marched over from Walnut Street to city hall for the rally. Officers largely were on hand for traffic detail so the protesters could express their outrage in a peaceful and incident-free manner. Although the majority of the crowd wore masks due to the COVID-19 threat, social distancing pretty much went out the window. East Liverpool Mayor Greg Bricker declined an invitation to address the crowd. Daniel Winston, president of the Columbiana County Young Democrats, repeatedly urged protesters to allow Police Chief John Lane (not pictured) to speak but activists interrupted to shout him down. Winston and Lane agreed to set up a meeting between black youth and the police at a future date. The rally was one of dozens of protests across the United States in response to the death of George Floyd, who died a week ago after he spent his last moments with his neck pinned under a Minnesota police officer’s knee and gasped for air nearly nine minutes. That police officer has been terminated and charged.