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4 protests scheduled around Newport Beach Wednesday

A protest takes place at OC Fair and Event Center June 2.
Nina Veyseh, 19, from Laguna Hills, carries a sign along Fairview Road during a a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Newport Beach is set to see four protests Wednesday as the nationwide movement continues in response to police brutality and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Social media posts show the first planned event at noon in the area of MacArthur Boulevard and East Coast Highway, at the northern end of Corona del Mar; one at 2 p.m. at Newport Pier; one at 5 p.m. on the pedestrian bridge over San Miguel Drive at Civic Center Park near City Hall; and one at 5 p.m. at the Back Bay. The post for the Back Bay-area demonstration did not give a more specific location.

The posts promoted peaceful demonstrations. The one on the Civic Center Park bridge is billed as being family-friendly, for “raising anti-racist kids.”

Newport Beach Police are aware of all four demonstrations and had not planned any street closures in advance Tuesday, said department spokeswoman Heather Rangel. The city also had not preemptively called for any curfews.

An independent autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family this week found he died of asphyxiation caused by neck and back compression after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground on May 25 with a knee on the handcuffed, unarmed black man’s neck for several minutes.

About 200 people, most of them young, peacefully assembled across from Costa Mesa City Hall and the city’s police department before proceeding past Orange Coast College toward the 405 Freeway.

Orange County’s protests have stretched into all corners of the county, emotionally charged but largely peaceful with some property damage and arrests. Several hundred people turned out in downtown Huntington Beach Sunday. Smaller demonstrations took place in Costa Mesa on Monday and Tuesday.

The Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce sent out an email to its membership Tuesday advising them of the protest off Coast Highway and assuring them that police will be prepared for any potential issues.

“Our hopes are that this event will allow folks the freedom of getting their message out while remaining respectful of our local businesses,” the chamber said.

That message was to peacefully support the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Newport has held multiple rallies and parades in support of our president,” the flier declared, “and it’s time we bring the BLM movement there!”

Newport Beach will start releasing funds in three to four weeks, the City Council decided Monday when it unanimously agreed to accept the allocation.

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