Hours before the city's first night of curfew Saturday, Columbus Police dispersed downtown protestors following a day of contentious demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd. Police cars were parked on nearly every street, cordoning off the area and leaving the area empty.
Protesters marched peacefully that morning at the Ohio Statehouse, but the environment grew heated as Columbus Police sent tear gas into the crowds. By late afternoon, Gov. Mike DeWine had announced the deployment of the Ohio National Guard to the city, which would come under a 10 p.m. curfew.
Around 8 p.m., the streets around the Statehouse were eerily quiet except for the sound of helicopters circling overhead. Many protestors had moved by that point northward on High Street into the Short North.
Those left downtown were met with armored vehicles and a message blaring from a loudspeaker: "You must clear the area. Crowd control devices are going to be used against you. You must clear the area. Regardless of your purpose, you are subject to arrest."
Shortly after warning protestors to disperse police in Columbus start firing some sort of wooden projectile. Small groups of protestors are all over the city. pic.twitter.com/8NxNalOplD
— Paige Southwick Pfleger (@PaigePfleger) May 31, 2020
Many protestors were met with that same message several blocks from High Street, and were unsure where to turn.
On the corner of Broad and High Streets, more than 50 police officers blocked the intersection, letting only police vehicles through.
Deioveon Canton stood with a small group of protestors who had been separated from the larger demonstrations. He has lived in Columbus for two years, but is from Minneapolis originally. He said he was planning to stay out past 10 p.m.
"'Curfew' in quotations is the best way to describe it," he says. "I'm going to stay far back because I don't do mace in the pretty face. I'm going to stay as far back as possible, but I'm going to be out there with them shaking the room."
Columbus' curfew is scheduled to last from 10 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday, and Mayor Andrew Ginther said it will remain in place indefinitely.