PORTLAND, Maine — On Wednesday more than 1,000 people gathered at City Hall in Portland for a fourth consecutive night of peaceful protesting in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Organizers were assisted by police and city leaders to hold the peaceful demonstration that featured speeches, poems, and stories. The event began at 4 p.m. and peacefully dispersed around 6 p.m.
However, a smaller group remained and regathered at Monument Square and later at the steps of the Portland Police station.
This has been the trend for the past few protests, as protestors with differing approaches have seemed to escalate tensions with police after dark.
According to police, officers witnessed an ‘altercation’ near City Hall around 7 p.m., but don’t go into detail about what the altercation was. Police say John Cote, 37, of Buxton fled officers when they intervened. After a brief foot chase, Cote was arrested for disorderly conduct and refusing to submit to arrest or detention.
Later in the night around 10 p.m., police say a small group was lighting fires in the area of Franklin and Congress Street, using rubbing alcohol to light materials on fire. They fled but were eventually stopped. Ronaldo Garcia, 20, of Portland was arrested for refusing to submit to arrest or detention.
Police later issued a summons for criminal mischief for Amelia Nadiriv, 20, or Portland for writing graffiti on the plaza of 100 Middle Street just after 11 p.m. She was given a date to appear in court.
“Given the unfortunate and dangerous events of the preceding two evenings, I appreciate the peacefulness of last night’s protest. I hope we can move forward, come together and continue to engage with everyone in our community, in order to enhance mutual understanding, respect and trust,” Chief Frank Clark said.
Organizers are calling on police and Chief Clark to "listen to the voices of black people."
Chief Clark, as well as other police departments in Maine, have shared messages of support with protestors and condemned the Minneapolis Police Department for Floyd's killing.
Clark said, "We understand why you're here. We saw the video, we have the same concerns."
Earlier on Wednesday, police chiefs from the greater Portland area held a press conference addressing the protests.
Watch the complete press conference here:
On Monday night, police made 23 arrests, and there were 10 more arrests made the following night.
Protest organizers continue to urge peaceful protesting.
"I see a lot of things online about people talking about like the looting and the rioting and it just, like, kills me when the violence drowns out the message of why we’re all out here in the first place," a protest organizer Devin Moore said.
"We’re all out here for love. Whether Black Lives Matter is the chant, it’s bigger than the black lives. We’re asking for our lives to be valued, yes, but we just want to be treated the same so that we can all get along here in this country."
Watch Moore's full interview here: