While cities across the country saw destruction and violence related to protest over the weekend, the Spa City’s protest remained peaceful.
Groups gathered nationwide to protest police brutality and racial inequality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Video showed Floyd being pinned to the ground by police officer Derek Chauvin, who held a knee on his neck for more than 8 minutes.
Protests in larger cities have led to riots which involved looting, property damage, and bodily injury, though it should be noted those causing the violence are thought to not be part actual protest, but groups from outside.
Little Rock saw groups gather on Saturday, temporarily blocking Interstate 630. Someone tagged the capital with “Black Lives Matter” in black spray paint. The scene turned chaotic when Arkansas State Police troopers arrived and fired tear gas to clear the area. Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey said 1 officer was injured after getting hit by a thrown object. Police said there were issues in other parts of the capital city Saturday night. Someone reportedly drove a car into a Target store on University Avenue and stole items. Police arrested 1 person nearby. Protests have continued into Monday.
In contrast, the group that gathered in Hot Springs remained peaceful. Between 50 and 70 individuals gathered on Bathhouse Row at Hill Wheatley Plaza. The protesters kept to the sidewalks, clear of traffic, which has been an issue with a protest in Little Rock, and other areas in the state. The group stayed until after dark, though no issues erupted.