Protesters gather in Providence to march against police brutality
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- Nearly 50 protesters gathered outside of Classical High School in Providence to draw attention to recent arrests and what they allege are police abuses.
The march had initially been intended to support Jaylon Butler, a 28-year-old man that who said he had suffered a seizure before being arrested during a protest in Providence Tuesday night.
That protest was held in support of Jhamal Gonsalves, a 24-year old man injured in an officer involved moped accident that occurred during a large convergence of ATVs and dirt bikes on Providence’s streets Sunday.
The protest on Tuesday, attracting hundreds of marchers, was largely peaceful but ultimately descended into a violent confrontation between police and approximately 150 protesters that saw 21 arrests by the end of the night.
A smaller protest on Wednesday night saw another violent confrontation with police on the Providence and Cranston city line, with protesters launching projectiles at police and officers responding with pepper spray. Nine protesters were arrested on that night.
On Friday, Butler issued a statement on Facebook that said he did not want a violent confrontation to be held in his name.
“I need all the support I can to help defuse a protest tonight they are trying have in my name…We Do Not Want Anymore Violence in Our City,” Butler wrote.
Butler repeated his wishes in person, appearing before protesters Friday night at the Providence Safety Complex, after being released from the hospital earlier this morning.
Protesters continue to march through Providence’s West End. A line of officers in riot gear met them on Atwells Avenue, preventing them from marching down the stretch of restaurants and shops in the Federal Hill neighborhood.
Protesters are stood before a line of police on America Street, a residential street just off Atwells Avenue. Police again blocked them from entering the street. A tense scene emerged, with protesters chanting and police refusing to budge.
One woman, who was stuck in traffic, left her car to confront protesters and police before being urged away from the scene.
Ultimately the group retreated, and continued to march down Broadway.
The marchers continue to protest in the downtown area, heading along Memorial Boulevard before entering Westminster Street.
The group continued through downtown, before returning to Classical High School.
There did not appear to be any arrests.
This is a developing news story. ABC6 will update it as more becomes known.