City of Cleveland Is Urging Downtown Employees to Head Home Prior to 3 p.m. Public Square Protests


Public Square, Dec. 4 - EMANUEL WALLACE / SCENE
  • Public Square, Dec. 4
Here's the city's email, circulating now among downtown businesses:
The City of Cleveland, Division of Police is aware of information regarding protests planned for Friday, December 5, 2014 that will likely bring large crowds to the downtown area. As a result of this information, the Division of Police recommends those who are able to leave downtown earlier than normal departure time do so in order to alleviate some of the expected traffic congestion.

In addition, the Division of Police will work to ensure the protection of both the public and demonstrators. The Division of Police recognizes an individual’s right to demonstrate and reminds those who intend to demonstrate that they must do so in a civil manner and in a way that does not violate laws or inconvenience or harm others.
As Sam Allard wrote yesterday, Public Square protests have now become quite frequent in the wake of the shooting death of Tamir Rice, as well as grand juries' decisions not to indict Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., nor Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City police officer who killed Eric Garner via chokehold.

Today's protest is set to begin at 3 p.m. at Public Square. As we've reported before, the movement of the crowd - to the Justice Center, to the Shoreway perhaps — is somewhat unpredictable, so it's unclear what will happen. The city, at least, is warning those who don't want to partake of inevitable traffic congestion downtown. One common tactic has been to shut down Public Square traffic, mostly along Ontario, by forming a circle or a wall in the roadway (see right). 

From yesterday:
"What's at stake here is whether the color of a person's skin should determine how they live, or even whether they live," read a flyer from Revolution Books, promoting Friday's protest. "It's time for you to get out into the streets, to fight back, to stand up, to say enough is enough, to say no more, to end this and change this system we live in." 
Today's protest was announced as early as Monday, when dozens of people gathered outside City Hall to list off demands for the police department and to engage City Council members (the latter taking place to no avail, really). It being a Friday — and nearly a Full Moon, as some have pointed out — the city is bracing for large crowds downtown, eclipsing those of the past few days' protests. 

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