Word of a Justice for Floyd protest at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand spread across social media June 1, but by late afternoon an organizer said it was canceled.
Dover resident Martoryo Cannon said she and her daughter organized the protest through social media but decided to cancel because of the threat of vigilantes showing up as they did in Wilmington and Dover.
“We were trying to do a peaceful protest but these vigilantes are coming, playing like they're protesters but they're not,” Cannon said. “They're doing all this looting and rioting, and we don't want to be associated with that.”
The protest was supposed to be held at 6 p.m., June 1, Cannon said, but they plan to reschedule it. As of now, Cannon said, a similar protest is planned at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 3, on The Circle in Georgetown.
Before the event was canceled, Rehoboth Beach Police Chief Keith Banks said police were aware of the protest, and were preparing for it.
“As things open up, it's not the way we want to start, but if it's a peaceful protest it's fine, and we'll go from there,” he said.
Protests against excessive police force have exploded across the country following the death of George Floyd after he was taken into police custody. Protests and riots began after his death May 25 in Minneapolis, and have spread to cities across the country including Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. A protest in Wilmington May 30 turned violent when people smashed store fronts on Market Street and looted stores. A protest in Dover May 31 was also followed by some who smashed store windows at the Dover Mall.
Banks said he has been in contact with officials in Wilmington and Dover about looting that took place after those areas held similar peaceful protests. He said he couldn't go into details about operations, but the Delaware State Police and neighboring towns are aware of the protest.
“We want to be prepared if other people come in who are not associated with the peaceful protest and start trouble as we've seen across the country,” Banks said.