With a protest expected Saturday afternoon, Sanford officials have announced a nightly curfew this weekend that will go into effect Friday and continue through Monday morning.

Essential travel will be permitted, but people must be off the streets between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to a news release posted Thursday on the Sanford police Facebook page.

“The city seeks to protect all employees, residents, and people present in Sanford through the exercise of strong planning and through adherence to our laws while ensuring freedom of speech,” the city said. “Neither are mutually exclusive of the other and must be preserved equally.”

Sanford Police Chief Thomas Connolly said a demonstration in response to the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police will be held in Gowen Park on Saturday at 1 p.m. The protest is being organized by Project Community.

“We have heard rumors that some individuals, unrelated to the group organizing the protest are traveling to Sanford from other states, and may use this event to commit acts of violence and to damage public and private property. The Police Department and the City of Sanford will not tolerate any criminal behavior,” Connolly said.

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