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Las Vegans clean up litter-strewn streets, take photos after protest

After the crowds dispersed, the sun rose Sunday morning on garbage-littered streets and graffiti sprayed and scribbled across walls and sidewalks in downtown Las Vegas.

Locals then converged in the daylight downtown to clean up and see the aftermath following a second night of demonstrations and clashes between protesters and police, spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day.

“I think what struck me after Minnesota, of course, this isn’t as devastating as that was, but the next day I saw just hundreds of people out there, cleaning up the city,” said Nate Johnson.

On Sunday, city workers covered up what graffiti they could on Fremont Street while locals like Johnson picked up discarded bottles and trash from the sidewalks.

Johnson arrived downtown early Sunday after seeing social media posts from his friends about a possible cleanup effort.

“You know, you’re trying to find some way to help and to be a part of loving your neighbors and your black friends,” he said, “and I wasn’t out here last night, so I want to be a part of it in some way that helped the city and help those who, you know, are in a bad place.”

People clad in gloves and masks walked the streets with brooms and plastic garbage bags Sunday morning while others came with cameras or just stopped and pulled out their phones to document the scene.

Outside Container Park, where the protest began, tags bearing the names of people killed by police nationwide hung from a heart sculpture covered in locks and earlier messages.

“I love Las Vegas and I’m very proud of it,” said Mario Corchado, another local who showed up to help. “And what happened, just over last couple days, it’s a tragedy. It’s so sad.”

Corchado has lived in Vegas since 1993 and said he has family and friends who work in law enforcement, including his nephew, “a 24-year-old kid.”

“He works hard — two jobs. People don’t realize who these people are that protect us every day.”

Although graffiti covered empty walls, utility boxes and alleys from Fremont Street to the Regional Justice Center, it was noticeably absent from the art and murals downtown.

Corchado and Julianne Newman, who was also helping with the cleanup, said it appeared that vandals had tried to avoid damaging the art.

But someone still needs to clean up the profanities spraypainted around the area.

“I understand that everyone’s emotional, you’re emotionally charged up, but I don’t think destroying our city is going to change anything,” Newman said.

Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0365. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

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