After four straight nights of clashes between protesters and police in downtown Colorado Springs, many feared that the start of a city-wide curfew Wednesday night would further raise tensions.
Fortunately, that didn't happen.
Most of the hundreds of protesters who gathered at City Hall and marched through downtown for most of the day, dispersed at around 10:15 p.m. -- 15 minutes after a police loudspeaker warned that the curfew would be enforced.
Few police officers were seen around City Hall during the evening, and a final group of around 100 demonstrators left City Hall, returned at 11 p.m. and briefly milled about before breaking up.
"We're done for the night," an unidentified organizer said. "Be ready to come back tomorrow."
No officers were seen trying to actively enforce the curfew.
The protesters have been active since Saturday, calling for reform in police brutality and deadly force use after last week's police-involved death of George Floyd, a black man, in Minneapolis.
(SWIPE through the gallery above to see photos of Wednesday evening's protest from our crew at the scene.)
Some of the movement's leaders apparently were influential in convincing protesters to honor the curfew and end the trend of thrown objects -- and police use of tear gas and pepper spray -- at the Police Operations Center.
Larry Black, one of the organizers, said demonstrators were free to decide whether to obey or violate the curfew on their own, but he recommended that protesters go home before 10 p.m.
"There's people here to fight for their loved ones," he said. "I would rather them go home before 10 and remind themselves why they're fighting this fight -- rather than ending up locked up, killed, injured and with medical bills. We've poked the bear long enough. We might win the battle by violating the curfew, but we'd lose the war."
Black said he asked demonstrators to decide whether to stay or leave by 8 p.m., and by then the crowd at City Hall had thinned considerably.
"We also asked that people stay up here by City Hall and not go to the Police Operations Center," he said. "It's just not worth it to give them another excuse to tear gas or pepper spray us. This fight is going to continue for a long time."
Another organizer, Deja Alexander, said she planned to stay on the streets after 10 p.m. to ensure that police enforced the curfew peacefully and because she realized that some protesters may intentionally violate it.
"We have to police our people because we know some of them will want to confront police and violate the curfew," she said. "As a leader, I have to be there. I wish I could count on adults to police themselves, but I know some of them won't. I agree with Larry that people shouldn't violate the curfew because doing that will just create more problems for us."
Black said the protest movement eventually will expand to other areas of the city during the day, to gain more attention and counter the city-wide curfew at night.
Late Wednesday evening, a large group of protesters marched to the intersection of Cascade and Pikes Peak Avenue and laid down in the street for several minutes, temporarily blocking traffic.
During that same period and in the same area, a protester was struck by a vehicle and injured -- police arrested the driver and are investigating the incident -- and a group of protesters briefly had words with officers who were trying to allow an ambulance to get through.
Krysten Gard and Lauren Lee are Colorado Springs residents and college students who joined the protest and agreed with the decision to honor the curfew.
"If it means getting off the streets at a certain time, then maybe that's what we need to do," Lee said. "The message is the most important thing."
"People can confuse the protests with looting and rioting," Gard said. "Honoring the curfew furthers the separation between being peaceful and not being peaceful."
KRDO reporter Scott Harrison was downtown Wednesday evening as the protests continued: