Cleanup Efforts Begin In Downtown Cleveland Ahead Of Sunday Curfew

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Updated: 12:25 p.m., Sunday, May 31, 2020

Cleveland residents have organized cleanup efforts downtown following Saturday protests. Storefronts and buildings throughout Public Square and along Euclid Avenue were looted or damaged after demonstrations outside City Hall and the Cuyahoga County Justice Center.

City employees, in coordination with the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, began cleaning the area early Sunday morning following an announcement from Mayor Frank Jackson. Local organization Downtown Cleveland Residents began its own cleanup at 10 a.m.

About 20 people showed up to assist in the cleanup effort, said President Alan O’Connell, and more are expected over the next hour.

“It’s hard to coordinate exactly, we don’t have a birds-eye view,” O’Connell said. “We’re just telling people to find where there’s trash on the ground and pick it up.”

The cleanup started in Public Square, O’Connell said, but the area has been largely cleared by city employees and volunteers. Anyone showing up now is being asked to fan out, he said.

The organization plans to halt the cleanup at noon, in compliance with the curfew instated by the city Sunday morning.

Protesters broke windows at the Starbucks on Euclid Avenue. The storefront was boarded up Sunday morning. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]

“We’ve also discouraged anybody who does not live downtown from coming into downtown because of the curfew,” O’Connell said. “While we appreciate the outpouring of support and help, we should be able to keep it under control with just the people who live here.”

Geiger’s opened its stores earlier this month after weeks of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cleveland storefront’s windows were broken Saturday night, co-owner Gordon Geiger said, and 90 to 95 percent of the merchandise was taken. The Downtown Residents association aided in cleaning up debris and glass from the property.

“I equate it to a locust invasion. It was incredible,” Geiger said. “From mannequins to displays, to everything you would see when you walk in the store.”

Demonstrators looted the Downtown Cleveland Geiger's location, taking almost all of the merchandise. [Mike Vendeland / ideastream]

The company plans to reopen that location, he said, but it’s too early to tell what that timeline will be. The windows are boarded up now, Geiger said.

“We’re saddened by the whole series of incidents that led to this, all along Euclid Avenue,” Geiger said.

Damage to Geiger's as seen Saturday evening in Cleveland [Nick Castele / ideastream]

Damage to Geiger's as seen Saturday evening in Cleveland [Nick Castele / ideastream]

Curfew will remain in effect until 8 a.m. Monday. No vehicle or pedestrian traffic will be permitted during the curfew period.

The city is urging residents to remain in their homes at this time, and asking those who do not live in the downtown area to stay away.

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