Government offices close early Friday ahead of protests at Fayetteville’s Market House

North Carolina

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Some Fayetteville City Hall staff members were released from work at 4:40 p.m. Friday, ahead of a protest at the Market House that started at 5 p.m.

The city emailed this statement:

“The Fayetteville Police Department is aware of a planned protest in the downtown area. Officers hope that any event will remain peaceful. The Police Department has made preparations to ensure legal and peaceful protests can occur, but the Department is prepared to also respond to illegal activity. The Police Department does not release plans for strategic operations.”

Cumberland County also released employees from work early Friday evening, sending this statement:

“Cumberland County Government buildings in the downtown Fayetteville area will close at 4 p.m. today to allow employees to leave the area prior to potential protest activities.”

Myah Warren is one of the people protesting tonight.

She is joining others holding signs that say “Black Lives Matter” and “Honk for Justice.”

Warren expects everything to remain peaceful tonight.

Warren attended several protests over the past year in Fayetteville, at one point even camping out near the Market House.

Friday night, she says she’s back protesting after the shooting of Daunte Wright, and the ongoing George Floyd case.

“Tonight we just wanted to stand, we want our voices to be heard,” Warren said.

The latest protest comes one night after Fayetteville City Council decided against moving the Market House away from the center of town.

Instead, it will be repurposed in some way.

Warren said she wanted the Market House demolished because slaves were sold there.

“I’ll bend for a museum, but definitely it has to be about African American history,” Warren said.

Dr. Anthony Wade is the Fayetteville-Cumberland Human Relations Commission Director.

He’s working with city leaders, the community, and the U.S. Department of Justice to determine which option is best.

Options include turning one of the traffic lanes around the Market House into a walkable area, creating art exhibits, commerce opportunities, or themed events for educational groups.

The cost for those options has not yet been determined.

“Whatever the people of our city want, that’s what I want too,” Wade said. “Whenever we are listening to our community and hearing their voices, that’s what gives us the wisdom to make the best decisions possible.”

The city has not released a timeline for when a decision will be made.

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