At 9:10 p.m. Monday, June 1, a little over an hour after the citywide curfew imposed by Mayor Nancy Vaughan when into effect, Elm Street in downtown Greensboro was all but deserted with the sidewalks empty and only one car other than police cars in sight.
About 150 protestors had gathered about 7 p.m. in front of Greensboro police headquarters at 100 Police Plaza and marched to gather in front of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum on South Elm Street.
Leaders told the group that if they didn’t want to be arrested they needed to disperse before 8 p.m. and gave a lot of instructions on what to do if they were arrested. About 7:45 p.m., most of the protestors left but about 50 protestors stayed in front of the museum, many with arms linked, at times chanting.
“No justice. No peace.”
“Hands up. Don’t shoot.”
“Black lives matter.”
“What do we want, Nancy Vaughan. What do we want justice.”
“Our time is now.”
There were police cars at the intersection with Washington Street a block south and on Market Street a block north, and police made announcements by loud speaker that people were violating the curfew and should disperse, but the police cars stayed a block away.
During much of the protest there was a crew securing particleboard over the windows at Cone Denim Entertainment Center right across Elm Street from the museum. They left before the curfew went into effect.
At about 8:45 p.m. the police, shoulder to shoulder in riot gear with shields, started moving down South Elm Street from Market Street toward the protestors. More announcements were made by the police telling people to disperse immediately and that if they did not disperse the police could use munitions that could injure those who remained.
When the solid line of police officers was about a half a block away, the protestors started walking south on Elm Street, keeping about a half a block of space between them and the line of police officers. The protestors stopped briefly in front of the Kress Building to yell at the police, who also stopped, but then the protestors continued down Elm across Washington street and then turned west into the city parking lot as if they were going to march back to police headquarters.
In the parking lot the protestors found they were surrounded by police officers who were still keeping their distance. For a few minutes some of the protestors ran around in the parking lot looking for a way out and then most continued west on McGee Street, the only way left to go where they found more police officers at the intersection of McGee and Eugene Street.
At that point what was by then a relatively small group of protestors shouted they were going home and went off in different directions.
There were other protests in other parts of downtown Greensboro, but the one that began in front of police headquarters ended with no one arrested, and no force used.