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Hundreds protest racial injustice in Midland and Odessa

You've seen images of unrest across the country. That frustration was demonstrated in West Texas Sunday.

ODESSA, Texas — A large crowd of demonstrators has started to form in downtown Odessa. A group identified as March for Change Odessa organized the peaceful demonstration Sunday evening.

"We are not advocating for violence and we want this to be as peaceful as possible," the group wrote on Twitter.

Odessa Police blocked off certain streets to allow the demonstrators a safe space to protest. Officers blocked off North Grant Ave. starting at East 2nd St to East 8th St.

A large crowd could be seen forming along Grant St. just after 6 p.m. Sunday.

Credit: KWES

The crowd marched up and down Grant St. to mourn the loss of George Floyd, the man killed by a Minneapolis police officer nearly one week ago. 

While impassioned, the protest never turned violent.

"I'm really proud of everyone here because a lot of people are upset and they want to fight people that are trying to talk mess, but everyone is keeping it calm because they know this is the way we have to do it," Dominique Nelson, protest organizer said.

Meanwhile, in Midland, dozens of people gathered outside of the Midland Park Mall to protest. All could be seen holding signs.

Credit: KWES

Tensions escalated when a group of counter-protestors lined up across the street. There were back and forth arguments and shouting, but never violence. Midland Police responded in riot gear to maintain control of the crowd.

Midland protest taking shape at the Midland Park Mall

Posted by NewsWest 9 on Sunday, May 31, 2020

Protestors spoke with our crew about what brought them out Sunday.

"Just because it didn't happen here doesn't mean it wont happen here and I hope this protest brings the community together and we stop the difference of race, color and sexuality because we are all the same race," protestor Jaylen Sanchez said.

City of Midland spokeswoman, Erin Bailey, confirmed to NewsWest 9 that Midland Police, Midland County Sheriff's Office and Midland SWAT have gathered near Memorial Stadium and First Baptist as a centralized location in the event violence breaks out.

If the protest stays peaceful, police will not respond, Bailey told our reporter on scene.

Credit: KWES
Protestor seen holding Black Lives Matter sign near law enforcement command post.

Protestors spread out at night fall, blocking the Loop 250 and Midkiff intersection for about an hour. Police dispersed the crowd after 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

Another protest is planned in Odessa Wednesday.

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