Providence prepares for Friday protests

Providence Police say there's no indication the protests will be violent.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The City of Providence is preparing for what is expected to be a large protest throughout the city Friday afternoon and evening.

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare says they’ve been in contact with organizers to make sure their voices and messages can be heard peacefully and safely.

“We will do everything that we can to have a peaceful demonstration that this community wants, and needs, and should have,” said Pare.

Storefronts downtown Thursday boarded up, preparing for the worst after Monday night’s riots and looting.

“It was completely different, what we saw and what we had to deal with Monday evening into Tuesday,” said Pare.

Briefing the media Thursday, Chief of Police Colonel Clements said they’ll be utilizing the state police, as well as the National Guard, and rely on the 9 P.M. curfew set by Mayor Elorza.

“That would have helped us on Monday night and it definitely will help us tomorrow night in the event that those take it to a different level,” said Clements. “We’ll be looking for people who are absolutely looking to cause disruption or violence or vandalism in the city.”

Ahead of Friday’s protest, many, including Governor Raimondo, gathered on the State House lawn Thursday for a prayer vigil with faith leaders, who called for meaningful change and peace.

“This is not a license to go out and loot and steal and pillage and destroy property,” said Imam Farid Ansari.

“I think we’re past disruption, I think we’re to the place now where policy needs to be affected, communicated, and changed,” said Pastor Justin Lester.

At this point, Providence Police say they have no credible information there will be any planned violence at Friday’s protest.

They also say they won’t immediately be making any arrests after 9, but want people to be aware of the curfew.

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