Protesters gathered outside San Luis Obispo's City Hall for another demonstration Wednesday. It's the city's third protest since Sunday.
The protest got underway at 2 p.m.
Demonstrators held up signs reading "Black Lives Matter" and "Murderers Belong in Jail," in reference to the four Minneapolis police officers charged in connection with the death of George Floyd.
Organizers told the crowd, "We don't want to bring any harm, any violence, to the city."
Protesters then began to march through city streets with police helping to block traffic and freeway on- and off- ramps.
After stopping at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Santa Rosa Street for an extended amount of time, organizers announced an end to the protest at about 5:20 p.m. and encouraged everyone to walk home on the sidewalks.
City Hall was surrounded with caution tape ahead of the protest. It was already closed to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re their partner in this today," said Police Chief Deanna Cantrell. "[The caution tape] was just so that no cops had to be out here. They don’t have to see any of us. The only cops you’re going to see today is trying to block cars from hitting them. We’re all on the same page.”
Protesters said they will continue to support rallies like this one until real change happens.
“As far as how long the protests go, it’s entirely up to how they feel that what they need to get across has gotten across,” said protester Alan Hernandez. “I’ll keep showing up as long as they feel that they need the support and backup of white allies.”
City officials told KSBY News that they support peaceful protests and there were no immediate plans for a curfew; however, the city may choose to enact a curfew, "should there be actual or threatened widespread property damage or threats to public health and safety."
San Luis Obispo County government offices located downtown closed down at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, apparently in anticipation of the protest. That includes the new government center, courthouse annex, old courthouse, Child Support Services, Parks Department, and the library.
All of the downtown county facilities are expected to reopen on Thursday at their regular times.
On Monday, San Luis Obispo police used tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesters after a nearly six-hour-long protest. The protest began at Mission Plaza at 2 p.m. that day and protesters spent the next several hours marching through city streets. At one point, they ended up on Highway 101, blocking traffic in both directions.
Police Chief Deanna Cantrell said that in an effort to prevent protesters from entering the freeway a second time, police set up a blockade at the intersection of Santa Rosa and Walnut streets. Protesters were warned to disperse, and shortly after 8 p.m., officers began to push the crowd back, using tear gas and pepper balls to break up the demonstrators.
Chief Cantrell said the department had also received several reports warning of looting and that the peaceful protest could turn violent, which factored into the decision to disperse the protesters.