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Colorado Springs protests through an organizer's eyes

Protests through an organizer's eyes
Posted at 4:00 AM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 09:40:56-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — News5 has been covering the George Floyd protests in Colorado Springs since they began, and we've seen some familiar faces downtown within the past few days. A handful of them are organizers, and News5 shadowed one of them to see what these protests look like through their eyes.

Charles Johnson said he is one of the organizers helping with local protests. Johnson said there have been two distinct groups protesting, one that typically comes out during the day and another that shows up more frequently in the evening. News5 met with Johnson Wednesday afternoon at city hall, where around 100 people were protesting.

"This is more of a peaceful protest. We're getting our words across, we're letting people speak," Johnson said.

Johnson said what has happened some nights outside of the Police Operations Center is not representative of the entire crowd at the protests.

"They really aren't standing up for a cause, they're just out there just to fight... I get you guys are angry, you guys are upset, you guys want justice, you guys want action to be taken, but it's a process," Johnson said, while speaking about the protests that happen more often at night.

However, on Wednesday, the first night a curfew was enforced in Colorado Springs, crowds remained peaceful. News5 watched as the crowds moved further north through neighborhoods, rather than choosing to march to the Police Operations Center.

We spoke with one of the people helping to control the group on Wednesday night, who said they strategically planned their route to avoid conflict. The night ended quietly, without any tense encounters observed by News5 between police and protesters. More on this interview can be seen on News5 Today.

Another one of the spokesmen for the protests, Niko Tagoilelagi, said their goal is to always stay peaceful, and not give the Colorado Springs Police Department any reason to shut down their protests. "We don't want to riot, we don't want to fight with police, we want solidarity," said Tagoilelagi.

Plus, Tagoilelagi believes the protests are making real change within the country, as evidenced in the George Floyd case. "What if no one protested, would those officers still be out on the streets today?" said Tagoilelagi.

Johnson also told News5 he and a few other organizers have started a group called MOVE, to try and provide a local avenue where people can help long after the protests end. As News5 learns more about the group, we will keep you updated.