SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A large protest in downtown San Jose Thursday ended peacefully with no law enforcement in sight — a stark contrast from last week’s protest that erupted in violence and arrests.
“The message today is peaceful protest,” said Kiana Simmons.
The San Jose resident bought a canopy earlier in the day and set up a “station” where people could drop off donated water and food for the crowd that stood outside City Hall.
The protesters held signs, chanted and waved at drivers just hours after city leaders announced they were lifting the 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.
“Nobody intends to live under curfew for an extended period of time, nobody believes it’s a tolerable way to live, this is not a state of martial law,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo during an afternoon news conference.
The curfew came after threats of looting and massive, organized retail burglaries in other parts of the Bay Area.
City leaders also said the curfew would help quell rioting as police and protesters clashed in last week’s protests. During the news conference, police defended the actions they took against protesters. So far they’ve made about 180 arrests.
“There were individuals running around downtown with accelerants and lighters,” said San Jose Police Capt. Jason Dwyer. “It was only a matter of time before they started structural fires and we would’ve been one of those cities on the news burning; we made a decision to not give up.”
But Thursday night’s protest was a much more peaceful scene. There were no officers who stood watch as protesters gathered late into the night.
“We are peaceful, everyone here is going to have a successful night, I think, and especially with all the food and supplies that we have here, I think it’s going to go really well,” said Simmons.
She said they plan to gather again outside city hall Friday at 4 p.m. along with the NAACP.