Tens of thousands of Americans quietly demonstrated on Saturday to condemn racism and police violence on a day marked by a new ceremony in memory of George Floyd.
From Washington to Philadelphia via New York, tens of thousands of Americans demonstrated on Saturday, June 6, in a peaceful atmosphere against racism and police brutality on a day marked by a new ceremony in memory of George Floyd.
During a blazing sun, which sometimes stopped to kneel on the ground, a dense crowd of people invaded the streets of the US federal capital, near the White House, Capitol or Lincoln Memorial.
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“I have a dream”
It was in front of this impressive monument that Pastor Martin Luther King of Atlanta on August 28, 1963, in front of nearly 250,000 people launched “I Have a Dream” in a speech that had become a reference in the fight for civil rights.
“We’re back here, with a new hope message,” said AFP Deniece Laurent-Mantey, 31-year-old African American.
Unlike this iconic movement in the 1960s, or the other gatherings that the capital used to host, the Saturday demonstrations did not center on an event or speech.
More than a dozen collectives, several of which formed spontaneously on social networks after George Floyd’s death, called to invade the capital’s streets.
On the impressive fence erected in front of Donald Trump’s residence, the heads were hung on George Floyd, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, African Americans all dead in the hands of US police in recent years.
“No racist police”
From the White House, where he spends the weekend, Donald Trump continued his intense activity on Twitter without mentioning the demonstrations. Until Saturday night at least.
When he tweeted that the crowd had been “much smaller than expected in Washington”, after advocating a little earlier “law and order”.
In a very familiar atmosphere, the protesters alternately sang classic souls and political slogans such as “No justice, no peace, no racist police” and utilized the bottles of ice water distributed by many associations.
Currently in attendance, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, the target of the US president’s ridiculous tweets, said it was time to say “To the following” in November, citing the 150-day presidential election.
“I have the impression that we fought, fought, fought and that suddenly everything came to fruition” welcomes Patricia Thompson, 55, referring to all US companies and organizations that she believes took a public stance “against institutional racism” for the first time the time after this deadly arrest.
Driven by a massive mobilization on social networks, the movement has spread to London, Pretoria, Paris and even Sydney, where at least 20,000 people demonstrated on Saturday.
After a first moving ceremony in Minneapolis on Thursday, the relatives of this 46-year-old African American, who was choked by a white police officer during an arrest, gave him a new tribute in family intimacy in Raeford, in his native Caroline North. His funeral is scheduled for June 9 in Houston.
New examples of police violence, especially under the repression of these sometimes violent protests, fuel the anger that has fueled the protests that have rocked the United States since George Floyd’s death.
Several videos showing muscular police action against peaceful protesters have emerged in recent days.
In anticipation of the new protests, the Seattle Police Chief has announced a 30-day ban on the use of tear gas.
Minneapolis police also announced Friday that they are now banning “choke,” a dangerous technology used in New York in 2014 by Eric Garner, another black man who died in police hands, whose cries of “I can’t breathe” were spoken. also by George Floyd before his death.
But the marches now go further than this single case to condemn systemic racism and demand real change.
They have remained peaceful in recent days and several cities, including Washington, Seattle and Los Angeles, have now lifted their curfew. But not New York, where it’s held until Sunday night.