JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Dozens of people gathered Monday morning in downtown Jonesboro for what the city hoped would be a “peaceful demonstration.”
The city shut down South Main Street between Jefferson and Washington Avenues to all vehicle traffic from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the “I Can’t Breathe-Rally to Justice for George Floyd” which was set to begin at 11 a.m. in front of the courthouse.
By 10:30 a.m., people had already begun gathering.
By the time the rally began, dozens more had joined them to shout slogans and pray.
Protesters say they were happy to be in Jonesboro, showing their support to the cause and expressing their thoughts in several ways.
“The reason I made this sign, I’m really tired of cops not getting convicted, the one who sits by and watched it all go on and I think he should be convicted as well,” one protester said.
They all marched with signs and banners with different sayings. Organizer Lexie Brenton said she’d never organized a rally before, but knew she wanted to get the word out.
“I could not sit and do nothing when the black community, the people that I love, are being killed in the streets,” Benton said.
Benton was willing to go to other cities hosting rallies, then decided to bring one here.
“Why not bring it to Jonesboro,” Benton said. “This is a conversation that needs to be held here, just as much as it needs to be held in Memphis, Minneapolis, and all the cities across the country.”
She wants everyone to express their thoughts during this time.
“We all have the ability to have a voice. The voice that matters right now is black people because they’re the ones that are hurting,” she said.
While the rally continued downtown, a group set up a booth encouraging people to register to vote.
Volunteer Tony Thomas said many people came to the table willingly to give their information.
“In order to affect true change in the democratic system we have in America, that happens at the election box and we’re just encouraging individuals to vote," Thomas said.
The rally for Floyd went smoothly. Brenton said she wants to help with other rallies in the future.
This was the second demonstration in as many days in Jonesboro.
On Sunday, hundreds of people took to the streets to protest the death of Floyd.