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City of Cleveland braces for possible weekend violence

The city's preparations come on heels of a disturbing incident in Buffalo.

CLEVELAND — With the curfew now lifted, Cleveland is once again open and leaders are bracing for possible violence this weekend.

It comes on the heels of a disturbing incident in Buffalo. Video surfaced showing a 75-year-old man knocked to the ground after approaching police during a protest.

Identified as Martin Gugino, he is now in serious but stable condition. Through an attorney Friday evening, Gugino reported that he is "alert and oriented."

Here's is the statement, provided by Lipman and Zarcone, PLLC:

"Mr. Gugino has been a longtime peaceful protester, human rights advocate, and overall fan of the US Constitution for many years. At this time, Mr. Gugino is in serious but stable condition. He is alert and oriented. Mr. Gugino requests privacy for himself and his family as he recovers. He appreciates all of the well wishes he has received and requests that any further protests continue to be peaceful."

Gugino worked as a First Energy employee for nearly two decades in the Cleveland-Akron area and was well-known for his social activism.

“He was out there to see an end to the assault on black lives,” said Jennifer Connor, who knew him from Justice for Migrant Families.

RELATED: Attorney: Injured 75-year-old protester, former Cleveland resident, is 'alert and oriented' after Buffalo Police incident

RELATED: Former FirstEnergy employee and Cleveland resident in serious condition after being pushed by police officer during Buffalo protest

Two police officers have been suspended over the incident, while 57 others from their department have resigned in protest.

Buffalo is under a curfew through Sunday.

The police commissioner and district attorney are investigating amid growing public anger that police initially claimed Gugino had tripped and fallen.

Closer to home, the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland is now surrounded by metal fencing.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said his department will be ready, merely a week after the city witnessed its worst vandalism in decades.

“We have a plan in place that we think is more than adequate to take care of not just the protests, but the entire city throughout the weekend,” Chief Williams said.

Yet mischief may have already begun.

Police arrested five people Friday morning for trying to break into Progressive Field with items for starting fires.

RELATED: Cleveland Police arrest 5 people who tried to break into Progressive Field with fire starter

Saturday’s protest is scheduled for 2 p.m. outside the Second District police station, just a few miles from the Justice Center.

It is unclear whether protesters will march.

Chief Williams has not revealed any specific threats of violence.


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