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Standoff between officers, protesters in Wellington ends overnight

PBSO blocks protesters from Wellington neighborhood
Posted at 10:02 PM, Jun 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-14 10:10:59-04

WELLINGTON, Fla. —

Officers in riot gear squared off with protesters into the overnight hours in Wellington.

It began as a peaceful rally for Black Lives Matter in Okeeheelee Park in West Palm Beach on Saturday.

Three Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office (PBSO) deputies met with organizers to discuss a plan for the march.

The goal was to keep the participants and the public safe on their way west on Forest Hill Boulevard heading to Highway 441.

In a Facebook live video, exclusively captured by WPTV NewsChannel 5, PBSO agreed the organizers could use the sidewalk to travel to the major intersection in Wellington.

However, participants soon discovered there are no sidewalks along Forest Hill Boulevard. That's when rally leaders moved the event into the right lane of the street.

WPTV's Facebook Live video of PBSO negotiating with protesters

PBSO said, "They tried to enter the roadway after they left Okeeheelee Park." PBSO expressed concerns about protesters being injured by traffic and public safety.

PBSO said, "The protesters failed to comply with several orders to stay out of the roadway." That's when the tension appeared to begin.

Our partners at The Palm Beach Post reported that as the protesters reached the Olympia neighborhood they were greeted by officers in riot gear.

Watch the Palm Beach Post's Standoff Video

The standoff lasted for hours and created traffic closures in the area.

PBSO and protesters cleared the scene after midnight and traffic began moving as usual in the area.