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Peaceful protest is most effective

A group of young men and women demonstrated the power of peaceful protest when they marched down Martin Luther King Jr. Street on Wednesday morning.

The death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer and the delay of arresting the officer sparked protests in communities across the country, including Natchez.

The group of approximately 60 people organized by Natchez residents Robert Bates and Brandon Curtis walked from George F. West Boulevard to High Street with a variety of chants.

The two men organized the event to bring awareness to racism and police brutality locally and across the nation. With their protest, Bates and Curtis also wanted to bring awareness to black-on-black crime in the community.  All are highly emotional and justifiable reasons to march peacefully.

Local law enforcement leaders, including Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong and Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten took the opportunity to stand with the protesters and commend the group for their leadership and desire to change their community and start a conversation that is sorely needed in Natchez, in Mississippi and the rest of the nation.

Armstrong, Patten and others also applauded the group for keeping their protests peaceful.

“We can set the example by not getting the message twisted,” Armstrong told the group, referring to rioting, looting and other violence that has occurred in other cities. “Because when that happens the focus shifts from where it needs to be.”

Patten and Natchez Fire Chief Ventris Green offered similar insight to the young men and women.

As Armstrong told the crowd Wednesday, we are proud of the students for showing that “we can peacefully protest and at the same time get our message out.” “Because it is a message that needs to get out not only in Natchez but across the country,” Armstrong said.

We couldn’t agree more.