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Muskegon protest called a success, no arrests or vandalism

Sunday the Hall of Justice parking lot in Muskegon County filled with several hundred protesters, by nightfall all participants went home in peace.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Sunday afternoon rally held in the parking lot of the Muskegon County Hall of Justice building is being called a success by participants and police.

The event scheduled to run from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. not only ended as planned  but also without any arrests or vandalism to buildings in the community.

Muskegon protesters say they gathered to show opposition to protest police brutality and to stand in solidarity with Minneapolis residents following the death of George Floyd.

Event organizers stressed early Sunday they wish for their rally to be non-violent, after riots broke out in Grand Rapids just 12 hours earlier.

"Everyone was hurting in their own way," said Eddie Sanders Jr. a Muskegon Heights resident and one of the most vocal protesters.

RELATED: 'We are better than this' Muskegon Sheriff says in message of unity to protesters

Credit: Bret Balcom
Muskegon County Sheriff hugs one of the organizer's of Sunday's protest.

Sanders says he's pleased with the way those who participated in the protest behaved.

"We did not want to stain this rally and this cause with violence and rioting and vandalism," Sanders said Monday. "This is not who we are."

Muskegon Director of Public Safety Jeffrey Lewis says contrary to Facebook posts about fires and damage there were no reports of vandalism in the city Sunday afternoon and evening and no arrests too. 

"l'll tell you, I was so proud of our Muskegon community," Lewis said Monday.

Organizers plan to hold a second protest later in June. 

Sanders hopes the first protest is a signal to community members and community leaders more action is needed in Muskegon and West Michigan to improve racial understanding. He says that can happen with communication and meaningful action like the protest Sunday.

"A closed mouth is closed doors, and an open mouth opens doors," Sanders said.

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