Officials in Duluth and Suwanee announced that they are anticipating protests will take place in their respective cities on Friday over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis as well as the deaths of other African-Americans around the country.
Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris is expected to join state legislators and representatives from the Gwinnett Chapter of the NAACP in a protest and march that is expected to take place around downtown Duluth from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Suwanee officials said they have heard demonstrations are being planned to take place Friday night and Saturday afternoon in their city. Suwanee officials did not say when or where the protests were expected to occur, but posts on Twitter indicated the one on Friday is expected to take place at 5 p.m. at Suwanee Town Center.
"We were all hurt and outraged when we learned about the tragic events in Minneapolis and death of Mr. George Floyd," Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette, Police Chief Mike Jones and City Manager Marvin Allen said in a joint statement. "We mourn his death and are devastated that young black men, in particular, are all too often the victims of unwarranted force and violence.
"Something has to change. We understand that anger and deep pain exists and that it transcends years of history. The demonstrators around the nation have every right to demand meaningful in peaceful ways. Those feelings are honest and warranted. We stand with those peaceful demonstrators."
There have been several protests in Gwinnett County since Saturday, with four consecutive days of protests in or near Lawrenceville and a protest in Sugar Hill on Monday.
In addition to the protests that Duluth and Suwanee officials have acknowledged will happen in their cities, a post has been circulating on Instagram promoting a protest that is scheduled to happen at 2 p.m. Friday in Lilburn that will begin at Lilburn City Park and include a march to Lilburn City Hall. There will be set up and poster making for the first hour with the protesting starting at 3 p.m.
The Lilburn event is expected to include nine minutes of silence, starting at 3:30 p.m., in memory of George Floyd. The event is expected to end at 5 p.m.
Sugar Hill officials participated in the protest held in their city and it appears at least Duluth will follow suit on Friday.
"We wanted to take this opportunity to let our community know that we stand up with you against systemic racism," Harris said in a statement posted on Facebook. "We know that members of our diverse community are hurting.
"We understand that to end the oppression of our African-American population we must unite as a singular force to take action and we will continue to do so throughout all levels of our local government."
In a statement also posted on Facebook, Duluth Chief of Police Randy Belcher said, “I believe that the greatest strength of Duluth is its people. The people who live or operate their businesses here in Duluth care about their community, and they care about each other.
"I believe that it takes a partnership between police and citizens, with open lines of communication, to keep our community safe and to create an environment where people can live without fear. We value the support of our citizens and we are willing to partner with the community in any way we can to encourage and continue these positive relationships, especially during these challenging times.”
Organizers of the protests have been encouraging attendees to wear face masks because of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.