WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Tens of 1000’s of demonstrators marched in Washington and other U.S. cities on Saturday to demand an finish to racism and brutality by U.S. regulation enforcement as protests over the killing of a black man by Minneapolis police entered a 12th day.
The protest in the nation’s capital was shaping up as the most important of the marches seen this week in cities and smaller cities nationwide, in addition to in nations world wide. It coincided with a second memorial service for George Floyd, 46, who died on May 25 after a Minneapolis policeman knelt on his neck for almost 9 minutes.
His killing, recorded in excruciating element on a bystander’s cellphone, has led to a wave of protests and nationwide soul-searching over the nation’s legacy of violence and mistreatment of African Americans and other minorities.
Near the entrance of the White House, Katrina Fernandez, 42, stated she was each hopeful and impatient in becoming a member of the protests to demand what she considered as lengthy overdue reforms in policing.
“I’m just hoping that we really get some change from what’s going on. People have been kneeling and protesting and begging for a long time and enough is enough,” she stated. “We can’t take much more.”
Local media has forecast that tens of 1000’s would end up in the U.S. capital, regardless of the dangers nonetheless posed by the coronavirus, which ravaged the nation over the previous two months and nonetheless presents a lethal menace, based on well being consultants. Official estimates of the variety of protesters had been unavailable.
As in earlier days, the protests in cities from Los Angeles and Chicago to New York and Washington concerned a sequence of loosely organized marches.
In the nation’s capital, 1000’s gathered on the Lincoln Memorial and elsewhere earlier than converging on the White House. A shifting throng of individuals marched previous the George Washington University Hospital chanting “Hands up, Don’t shoot!” “We March for hope, not for hate,” and “I can’t breathe!”
That final chant echoed protests from New York in 2014, when Eric Garner died in police custody after an officer used a banned chokehold on him. Garner and Floyd are a part of a protracted line of black males and girls killed by white officers.
The second memorial service for Floyd was held in a North Carolina city the place he was born. Hundreds lined up at a church in Raeford to pay their respects throughout a public viewing, and a personal service for the household was performed later in the day.
Floyd’s first memorial was held on Friday in Minneapolis. His funeral is scheduled on Tuesday in Houston.
COAST TO COAST
In New York, a big crowd of protesters crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into decrease Manhattan on Saturday afternoon, marching up a abandoned Broadway, the place lots of the retailers had been boarded up, based on social media posts.
Thousands of others gathered in Harlem close to the northwest nook of Central Park to march downtown, about 100 blocks, to town’s Washington Square Park.
In Philadelphia, demonstrators gathered on the steps of Philadelphia Art Museum steps chanting, “No justice, No peace.” Others marched alongside Benjamin Franklin Parkway, by way of John F. Kennedy Plaza, and round Philadelphia City Hall.
In California, the nation’s most populous state, demonstrations occurred in many cities together with Los Angeles and San Francisco, the place protesters briefly blocked site visitors on the Golden Gate Bridge as motorists honked in solidarity.
Demonstrators in Washington gave the impression to be from numerous backgrounds and had been dressed for the 90 diploma warmth. A bunch wore hospital employee’s clothes and held indicators with slogans together with “White Coats 4 Black Lives” and “I Love Being Black.”
Like lots of the protesters, Michael Drummond, a 40-year-old authorities worker, is white.
“Especially as a white person, I benefit from the status quo and so not showing up and actively working to deconstruct institutional racism makes me complicit,” he stated.
Protesters assembled on H Street NW and the newly rechristened Black Lives Matter Plaza, a strip main as much as the White House the place town painted “Black Lives Matter” in big yellow letters on the pavement on Friday in defiance of Trump.
It was close to the spot the place U.S. Park Police triggered outrage on Monday night by firing smoke grenades and chemical irritant “pepper balls” earlier than charging into peaceable protesters.
Afterward, Trump walked from the White House to the entrance of a close-by church and posed holding a Bible, a gesture criticized by many Democrats and even some members of Trump’s Republican Party.
On Saturday, the realm had an environment akin to a block celebration earlier than the group marched towards downtown. People coloured in large tributes to Floyd, whereas songs similar to “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond and “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar blared by way of audio system.
The demonstrators included households and folks of all ages carrying indicators saying “Fed up,” “All lives do not matter until black lives do,” and “My black son matters.”
Uniformed officers had been out in smaller numbers than earlier in the week and usually assumed a extra relaxed posture, sporting patrol uniforms reasonably than physique armor and helmets.
Even so, six buses unloaded lots of of uniformed army personnel, most sporting physique armor and carrying shields, on the White House grounds, a Reuters photographer stated. Military Humvees had been parked on tree-lined metropolis streets.
Reporting by Nadita Bose, Lucas Johnson, Makini Brice, Linda So, Mike Stone, Suzanne Barlyn, Barbara Goldberg and Scott Malone; Writing by Frank McGurty; Editing by Daniel Wallis