Hundreds protest Confederate monuments at St. Augustine 'Nights of Lights' kickoff

Protests against confederate statues on 'Nights of Lights' kickoff

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — A protest at the 'Nights of Lights' kickoff event in St. Augustine ended peacefully Saturday night.

Led by local pastor Ron Rawls, hundreds of people were there to rally against two Confederate statues and the city’s decision to keep them.

Groups from Jacksonville also joined the march, which began at St. Paul A.M.E. Church and ended at the city’s main plaza.

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The protesters’ main goal was to be heard and impact tourism at perhaps the city’s biggest event of the year.

“You see what’s happening with all that tourism,” said Essey Howard with the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville. “They don’t want that to really happen, but we did it anyway.”

Two Confederate monuments and St. Augustine’s recent decision to not remove them are at the center of the group’s frustration.

The city wants to add context to the monuments instead.

Local police bolstered the number of officers in anticipation of the protest. There is usually a lot of security at the Night of Lights kickoff event.

St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver said she believed Saturday night couldn't have gone better. She also said she knew of no arrests related to the protest.