Demonstrators gathered at NE 36th Street and Kelley Avenue in northeast Oklahoma City on Sunday afternoon in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week.
Thousands of people rallied at the demonstration organized by Black Lives Matter OKC before many of them marched south to the state capitol. The protest was largely peaceful and incident-free, as community members passed out water, grilled food and chanted support for marchers.
Click the photo above to see more photos of Sunday's march and protest.
Protester Tomia Bonner made her reasons for being there clear.
“We’ve done everything that we know to possibly do to be able to get this system to yield to us, and to treat us as people, as human beings,” Bonner said.
Later, a smaller group of people marched west to downtown. Organizers distanced themselves from those who marched away from the original protest site. Ward 7 City Councilwoman Nikki Nice said on Twitter, "Those who decided to continue to the Capitol and now downtown are not associated with the rally in NE OKC."
The protest remained peaceful as officers knelt together at one point and kept their distance. But, as a 10 p.m. curfew went into effect for a roughly 12-block area of the western portion of downtown, tear gas was deployed for the second night in a row. Windows were once again broken at several downtown businesses and a dumpster was set on fire as well.
"There are very important issues that we as a city and a nation should confront, and all daytime protests this weekend raising these issues have been peaceful," Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said in a statement announcing the curfew and state of emergency. “However, we learned last night that things can change after dark. After 9 p.m. tonight, and after a very healthy dialogue between police and protestors the last few hours outside our police headquarters, protestors began launching fireworks and objects at police officers who were merely standing outside the headquarters. On the request of the Chief of Police and the City Manager, I am providing law enforcement with a tool they need to ensure public safety overnight in downtown.”
That curfew will last from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for a limited area of downtown. The state of emergency will remain in effect until Mayor Holt signs a proclamation to end it.
In Tulsa, several hundred people gathered in Greenwood District for a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally.
The crowd soon marched through downtown and onto Interstate 44 near Peoria, which was shut down by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for about two hours.
A truck pulling a horse trailer initially stopped when it came upon the crowd, then drove forward. Two people were taken to the hospital with "minor injuries," according to a law enforcement spokesperson. The incident remains under investigation.
By around 9:30 p.m., the crowd had marched to Brookside District. Police say they received calls of people throwing bricks at cars and vandalizing businesses. Police deployed pepper balls and tear gas to disperse the crowd.