Hundreds protest with passion, peace in Clermont
More than 500 people on Wednesday protested the killing of George Floyd, starting their peaceful march in Clermont with joyous cheers over new charges in the case and ending with pleas to turn passion into action.
The crowd gathered at Waterfront Park on Lake Minneola as waves of light rain fell and then marched about a mile to City Hall. They packed the building’s lawn and nearby streets to hear almost two hours of speeches from organizers, protesters and local and county officials.
“The reason we are here today is to protest the unjust abuse, treatment and killing of black men, women and children in America because of police brutality,” organizer R.J. Rogers, 21, of Clermont, told the crowd. “We are not here to protest police on an individual level, but rather the system built on racism and oppression.”
The protest was the first organized one in Lake County since the killing of Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis. Another peaceful protest at State Road 50 and Hancock Road in Clermont drew more than 100 people, many who later joined the group at City Hall.
Lake instituted a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on Sunday because of “credible threats” about protests, but Wednesday’s marches were peaceful and passionate.
Speeches continued into the late afternoon as the rain held off. The crowd chanted “I can’t breathe” and “No justice, no peace” after each speaker finished.