Clerk’s office to close early Monday due to Confederate monument protests

The Manatee County Clerk of Court office will close its doors early Monday in light of planned protests surrounding the Confederate monument outside the courthouse.

“Given recent similar events that have occurred nationally, within the last week that erupted in violence, the Clerk has decided, as a matter of safety for our customers and our employees, to close our office and the Historical Records Library at 1 p.m. on Monday,” an announcement from the clerk’s office said.

The office will resume normal operating hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on Tuesday.

The clerk’s office is inside the Manatee County courthouse. Just outside, a monument to Confederate soldiers that has stood for 93 years.

Manatee County commissioners will hold a special meet at 3 p.m. Friday to discuss public safety during planned protests at the Confederate monument in downtown Bradenton.

Several groups plan to protest near the monument on Monday.

Groups calling for the monument to be removed, including Indivisible Bradenton, Black Lives Matter Alliance Sarasota Manatee Chapter and Answer Suncoast, plan to to meet at 6:30 p.m. and march from the skate park on the Bradenton Riverwalk to the Confederate monument outside the courthouse.

They say the monument honors the Confederate generals who fought to preserve slavery in the South. Others say the monuments are representative of Florida’s history, and honor those who served in the national conflict.

Members of America First-Team Manatee contend the Confederate monument should be preserved and plan to gather at the downtown Bradenton monument at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Protests surrounding the possible removal of a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, Va. sparked violence last weekend, but local officials hope things will remain peaceful in Bradenton.

Commissioners, during a Port Authority meeting Thursday morning, urged those participating in the upcoming protests to “remain peaceful and respectful.”

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office previously told the Bradenton Herald they plan in place to provide crowd control and protect the courthouse grounds, if needed.

Sara Nealeigh: 941-745-7081, @saranealeigh