Peace park protest takes to the streets in Bismarck
Marches and protests took place across the nation today in response to the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday.
A protest was held at peace park.
And every protestor had their reason for being there.
"I'm doing it for the people that I love, and not just the people that I love, but the people that other people love. And I'm not going to sit quietly, if I had to lay my life on the line for this I would,” said a protestor.
Many signs on display had a common theme: justice.
"I wrote justice for George Floyd..." said a protestor.
The crowd began moving into the street for the first time as we were speaking with the protestor. Protestors say they felt the need to mobilize to get their voices heard.
"What're we here for? Justice! When do we want it? Now! What're we here for? Justice! When do we want it? Now!" protestors chanted.
The protestors walked from Peace Park, up state street, around the capitol, and then back to the park. Police officer presence began as busy state street became blocked.
Officers say they were there for the safety of the protestors, but some still wanted them to speak up.
"We die every day, and you just stand there. Say something. You ain't got nothing to say?" said a protestor.
The crowd's raw emotions poured out.
Many saying they want better for the next generation.
"If we all loved one another the way we should, then we wouldn't have half of the problems we have today, said protestor Robin Opiedaybedeau.
Opiedaybedeau says his son has the same hope.
His son banged on a homemade drum in agreement.
"That's actually what we do when we agree.”
The protest remained pretty non-confrontational.
Protecting those inside and outside of the protest. That was the objective for the Bismarck PD as a immobile protest quickly took to the streets.
"The plan right now is just to give them some space. We know people are frustrated with what happened with the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Allow them an opportunity to vent their frustrations,” Lt. Steven Scheuer said.
The evening began calm. A minor police presence. But presence and contention heated up as the crowd moved towards the Capitol. Even then, the police had a heavy escort around the pack.
Just north of the Capitol, the crowd began chanting "No Justice! No peace! Prosecute the Police!” As Officers were escorting protestors the sidewalk, some came close while continuing the chants.
One protestor turned another away from escalation. Saying, "This is a different kind of protest! This is different!"
"You can have a best-laid plan, but things change. One thing you can't prepare for is people's emotions,” Scheuer said.
And those emotions nearly spoiled over. 3 hours into the protest, 2 fronts formed. Police had blocked the street where it all started, but a crowd took the opportunity to confront the line.
One protestor shouted: "We're here for our children! We have children! Do you stand with us or against us!?! What about Sandra Bland!?!"
Another lap around the city by the rest of the crowd brought the stand-off to an end.