Two protests against the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police — and Marcus Smith, who died last year while hogtied in the custody of Greensboro police — emanated from downtown yesterday. One culminated in a peaceful shutdown of Interstate 40 and Gate City Boulevard, the other ending in flames, tear gas and broken windows.

The first protest, which started around noon, took demonstrators from the International Civil Rights Center & Museum on Elm and February One streets all the way to the junction of Gate City Boulevard and the interstate, where Greensboro police guarded marchers as they shut down the highway and then claimed the overpass over Gate City Boulevard.

Later, another protest began in downtown Greensboro, including the breaking of window at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. Triad City Beat has not been able to confirm who caused the destruction at the museum. Protestors marched from there to the Guilford County Courthouse, where they demonstrated on the steps, and then marched to McGee Street and then back to the museum.

Around 11 p.m., police on bicycles and sheriff’s deputies in riot gear pushed the growing crowd to either side of the tracks on South Elm Street as trains passed through. A couple of blocks south, windows of some businesses got smashed and there was some looting at several shops. Footage from other news outlets also caught a vehicle driving dangerously through downtown, narrowly missing several protesters who stood on the sidewalks.


  1. While you may characterize a mob that shut down I-40 and Gate City Blvd. as “peaceful”, we may be sure that this kind of behavior is intended to be provocative enough that violence could easily be the result. And what are the police doing “guarding” people engaged in obviously illegal activity? Are they on the side of law and order, or not? If not, they are less than useless. Yesterday they clearly showed themselves to be a part of the problem.

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