FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - In an effort to keep demonstrations over the Confederate monument at the Lauderdale County Courthouse peaceful, police are ordering the two sides to separate.
According to our news partners at the Times Daily, three zones have been established.
In the picture here, the purple zone is reserved for anti-monument protesters. It includes the courthouse property, and stretches from West Tennessee Street south to Dr. Hicks Boulevard. It goes from South Pine Street to South Court Street, west to east.
Counter-protesters who support the monument are being asked to stay in the green zone to the east, across the street from the courthouse. This zone stretches from East Tennessee Street south to Dr. Hicks Boulevard, and goes from Court Street east to Seminary.
Chief Ron Tyler didn’t mince words - Court Street is no-man’s land. “The Florence Police Department will have zero tolerance for any protester crossing South Court Street to the opposing side, or protesting on North Court Street.” Tyler said.
Police are telling both groups to stay away from the red zone. It’s made up of several businesses who are trying to keep operating without disruption.
Protests calling for moving the monument to Soldier’s Rest in Florence City Cemetery have been taking place on weekend nights in recent weeks.
There have been times during demonstrations when the two sides have had heated exchanges.
“Yelling, chanting and singing in this area is permitted if the noise level remains reasonable,” Tyler said. "No sound amplification devices are allowed, except for the courthouse property, and so long as the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office continues to permit it.
All streets and sidewalks must remain open and clear for vehicular and pedestrian traffic, he said.
“Out of concern for public safety, the Police Department is allowed to keep protesters and counterprotesters separated. Also in the interest of public safety, we may keep protesters away from citizens not wanting to be a part of the protest activity.”
Tyler said the American Civil Liberties Union supports the idea of keeping antagonistic groups separated.
He citing an ACLU document titled “ACLU Know Your Rights; Protester’s Rights,” which states: “Police are permitted to keep antagonistic groups separated, but should allow them to be within sight and sound of one another.”