Springfield police suggest businesses concerned about protests close early Saturday

SPRINGFIELD,Mo. (KY3) -- Another protest is planned this weekend in Springfield and police say they are working with organizers to keep it peaceful.

At the same time, they are suggesting that downtown businesses who are concerned, should close before the protest begins.

Many businesses KY3 spoke with over the phone Thursday say they were still trying to decide how to go about their hours this weekend. Members of a couple of organizations working to put the protest together who tell KY3 they have had many of the businesses contact them looking for advice.

"We have told them that whatever they feel like they need to do to help or if they feel concerned, take by any means of what you personally feel, but we are out here to be heard," said Jordan Whitaker with Community Hatred Activists of Springfield.

Dozens of people say they plan to crowd the square Saturday to protest the death of George Floyd during his arrest in Minneapolis.

A spokesperson for Springfield Police said it has notified businesses of the planned protest, like they would for any other event. Officers told businesses to consider shutting down early if they were concerned.

"We're not here to preach to ourselves, we're here to make people who don't understand us hear us," said Jamille Jones with United Community Change Minority Justice Movement. " By putting us in a box or telling people to shut down so they can leave and basically not mingle with what we have going on is very offensive."

The owner of SwinDispenseries located on the downtown square said he was not notified of the protest.

"I hope there's going to be a couple hundred out here, I really do," said Blake Swindall, the owner. "That'd be fun to watch, but I don't think it's going to get to anything exaggerated out here."

His still plans to open at 1 p.m. despite the rally.

"I think there's going to be more important matters that day than just my simple shop," Swindall said.

The Springfield-Greene County Library did announce Thursday it would close its Park Central Library branch Saturday at 2 p.m. ahead of the rally. It said in a Facebook post it is the recommendation of Downtown organizations and Springfield Police.

Police said they are doing everything they can to be as accommodating as possible so that the community has every opportunity to peacefully voice their concerns. On social media, they have since told people to disregard any message that may insinuate otherwise.

"Don't premeditate something that doesn't exist yet," Jones said. "Allow us to show you what we are capable of and that we are able to respect our city."

Police say organizers are in the permit process right now for this weekend's rally.

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