In what was supposed to be the reopening party of downtown Las Vegas, after a long two-month shutdown due to COVID-19, turned out to be a scene overrun by protestors waiting to be heard instead.
The crowds of protestors came together in tribute of George Floyd, carrying signs that read “I Can’t Breathe” and “Black Lives Matter” and chanting that they want justice, and they want it now.
The plight of the protestors threw any social distancing precautions out the window, and we can understand why.
From blasts erupting on the streets and smoke going up in the air, to bottles being thrown at officers, to tear-gas exchanges and pawnshops being looted, the scene was far from safe for downtown businesses to reopen.
Downtown Businesses That Were Going to Reopen Their Doors
Before the streets were overtaken by protestors, downtown Las Vegas staples were gearing up to open their doors and welcome back guests.
Many of those businesses are in the popular Fremont East district, including hit bars like the Griffin, Downtown Cocktail Room, Commonwealth, and the Corduroy.
Some businesses did remain open during the madness, however, like downtown’s prominent pizza parlor Evel Pie.
The protest began at the family-friendly Container Park and eventually made its way to the Clark County Detention Center. There, an inmate turned his cell light on and off to incite cheers from the protestors.
What began as a peaceful protest on 7th and Fremont Street later turned into a riot that involved more than 2,000 people, with 103 people arrested, according to local police. Nearly 300 officers were on-site, with 11 officer injuries.
Police advised that one Metro patrol car was burned and two additional vehicles.
Downtown Businesses and Community Members Clean Up After Saturday’s Protest
The downtown community and business leaders came together early Sunday morning to help clean up after the protests from the night before.
Volunteers even showed up to the area after watching what went down on the news the night before. It was a group effort, and all hands were needed on deck.
Many windows of downtown businesses had been shattered, with graffiti covering the walls reading “Black Lives Matter” and common obscenities directed toward law enforcement. Trash also filled the roadways.
As soon as the downtown streets were cleared of protestor Saturday night, The D Hotel already had staff members begin repainting walls covered with graffiti.
Downtown Businesses In Support of the Protest
Downtown businesses found themselves in a unique position over the three-day protest, as they began boarding up their windows to show support against police brutality while also cleaning up the mess the rage had made.
While the protests put a halt to some downtown businesses’ reopening plans, for others, they were determined to reopen amid the destruction.
One of downtown’s newest restaurants, The District Tap, reopened its indoor dining room on Monday, despite protestors’ presence in the area.
Other downtown businesses carried forth with their reopening plans on Monday as well. Commonwealth, a popular, artsy cocktail lounge in Fremont East, will be open for business for their Tuesday trivia night. This week’s theme? Disney trivia.
While the protests delayed downtown Las Vegas’ reopening plans, it was an important moment for downtown Las Vegas to stand in solidarity with protestors, and it seems like businesses will still have their breakthrough moment when they can safely welcome all guests back.
Las Vegas is reopening quickly, with casinos set to reopen June 4.
We’re glad that the protest didn’t end in more destruction or violence, and we hope that peace can run through the city and the rest of the nation once more.
Be sure to check back for more coverage on Las Vegas reopening.