App allows users to virtually attend protests around nation

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Cities across the nation held protests this weekend in honor of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck, as well as other black civilians who lost their lives to police brutality.

While some marches were peaceful, many cities had reported injuries and arrests. 

Now, one app is allowing you to virtually step into the protests in any city of your choice and view firsthand accounts from activists. 

Snap Map offers users an unfiltered experience of what is happening on city streets by showing them videos of what residents are posting to the group “story” from any chosen geographical area.

Here are a few experiences from users in our area:

SAVANNAH

Protesters and city leaders gathered peacefully in downtown Savannah Sunday afternoon to protest Floyd’s death.

Protesters made their way from Johnson Square to City Hall, where Mayor Van Johnson spoke, calling for justice and encouraging peace. The crowd then dispersed and gathered in Ellis Square, where more people spoke and chanted.

Protesters remained in the Ellis Square area Sunday evening, though demonstrations started winding down in the late afternoon.

As a precaution, Johnson issued a citywide curfew from 8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday.

BLUFFTON

Protesters in Bluffton found a different way to show their support.

Dozens of vehicles, with drivers from around Beaufort County, met at Eagles Field Sunday afternoon for a drive-thru protest. After the drive, protesters met back up at Eagle’s Field for speeches.

BRUNSWICK

Over in Brunswick, a group gathered chanting “no justice, no peace.” Some wore shirts with Ahmaud Arbery’s name, who was fatally shot in the Satilla Shores neighborhood.

At least two protesters held signs calling for the removal of Officer Robert Rash, who had reportedly been in contact with one of the suspects in Arbery’s murder and the owner of a construction site a block away from where the Feb. 23 shooting occurred.

CHARLESTON

Hundreds of people attended a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Charleston on Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of protestors chanted “I can’t breathe,” “no justice, no peace,” “don’t shoot,” “black lives matter” and other phrases as they marched on King Street and rallied at Marion Square, consistent with the peaceful protests seen all over the country.

Authorities from the City of Charleston and neighboring Mount Pleasant were on hand for the rally. Police were seen in riot gear as they monitored crowds and attempted to keep the peace.

But the protests would soon move to Interstate 26 where all lanes of traffic were blocked for some time.

By nightfall, a group of demonstrators – police believe about 50 to 100 individuals – gathered in the streets of downtown Charleston to cause damage and violence throughout the city.

Many businesses in the downtown area experienced damage to windows and storefronts, like the Apple Store and Hotel Bennet. Tear gas was fired at demonstrators and fires were set at a number of businesses like West Elm, Fuel and Family Dollar.

ATLANTA

On Saturday in Atlanta, hundreds of National Guard soldiers helped enforce a 9 p.m. curfew where police said they made 150 arrests as some protesters threw rocks at officers and smashed windows at a police precinct.

Saturday night, more than 150 people were arrested for various violations during the protest, according to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

A curfew began Sunday night, scattering a crowd that had protested for hours in downtown Atlanta over the deaths of Floyd in Minnesota and Arbery in Georgia.

Atlanta police said Sunday they had arrested nearly 230 people overall after the first two nights of protests after incidents Saturday night in which protesters threw rocks at officers and broke windows in the downtown area.

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