Thousands of demonstrators filled the streets in San Francisco, Sacramento, Simi Valley, San Diego, Los Angeles and elsewhere across California on Saturday as the protest matches over the killing of George Floyd continued into their second week.
According to the Associated Press:
- In Los Angeles, protesters organized by Refuse Fascism LA took over Hollywood Boulevard, chanting “Revolution, nothing less!”
- In San Diego, more than 3,000 people marched downtown and faced off with officers guarding police headquarters, while a caravan of 300 cars moved past the state university there.
- In Simi Valley, a protest drawing several thousand demonstrators spilled onto the street and stopped traffic on a major road through the suburban town northwest of Los Angeles. It was there that four white Los Angeles police officers were found not guilty of beating motorist Rodney King, sparking riots in 1992.
Roderick Sweeney, 49, who is black, said he was overwhelmed to see the large turnout of white protesters waving signs that said “Black Lives Matter” during a demonstration on San Francisco’s famed Golden Gate Bridge, the AP reported.
“We’ve had discussions in our family and among friends that nothing is going to change until our white brothers and sisters voice their opinion,” he said. The large turnout of white protesters “is sending a powerful message. You can see protests are happening around this world, and so I’m hoping change will happen.”
Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser delivered a resounding message to Donald Trump with her endorsement of a sprawling Black Lives Matter mural on the pavement of 16th Street near the White House in the city’s downtown.
“We want to call attention today to making sure our nation is more fair and more just, and that black lives and that black humanity matter in our nation,” Bowser told NBC Washington.
US satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies has released satellite images of the mural – and the full impact is striking.
A ninth straight day of protests over the killing of George Floyd and the broader issue of racism and police brutality is under way in Seattle, with thousands of doctors, nurses and others in lab coasts and scrubs leading the way on a march to City Hall.
Sam Sen, a software engineer originally from Jordan, was one of the estimated 7,000 people who attended the medical workers’ march, which has grown in size throughout the day according to the Seattle Times.
“I show up almost every day,“ he told the newspaper. “It’s been amazing! It shows how closely tied the community is, everybody’s got everybody’s back. I see all kinds of colors, backgrounds, sexual orientations. I’ve lived on Capitol Hill for 11 years, and this just makes me love this city even more.”
He added: “When things escalate, it’s usually from the police. … The other day they used tear gas. Punished everyone here because of one asshole who threw a water bottle.”
Mayor Jenny Durkan and police chief Carmen Best have imposed a 30-day ban on the department’s use of one kind of tear gas after authorities were widely criticized for using the chemical deterrent to disperse of mostly peaceful crowds last week.
Other department policies for crowd control, including the use of chokeholds and pepper spray, will be reviewed by the city’s police accountability groups, according to local media reports.
Seattle City councilperson Kshama Sawant issued a statement on Saturday calling for Durkan’s resignation, describing her as responsible for “violence and brutality” in the city’s response to “overwhelmingly peaceful” demonstrations.
Guardian US reporter Jessica Glenza checks in from the ground in Jersey City:
Thousands of people have gathered in Jersey City, New Jersey, in one of the city’s largest protests in recent memory.
Demonstrators are chanting the names of people killed by police in recent weeks, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as “no justice, no peace”, on a hot and sunny afternoon in New Jersey’s second-most populous city located right across the river from Manhattan.
Jersey City police are not wearing riot gear and a peaceful vibe has prevailed with people handing out water and snacks and nearly the entire crowd wearing face masks and practicing social distancing as much as possible.
Several apartment buildings have banners unfurled from upper floors reading “black lives matter”.
The protests in Atlanta have entered their ninth day with mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms having officially lifted the citywide 8pm curfew after Friday night’s demonstrations ended with no arrests (and national guardsmen even dancing the Macarena alongside protestors).
Saturday’s events have been scattered throughout numerous locations across the metro area and downtown, including City Hall, the Centennial Olympic Park and police headquarters.
The curfew was first implemented by city officials after last weekend’s peaceful demonstrations took a violent turn on Friday night, prompting Atlanta’s police chief to say: “Whether it’s by police or other individuals, the reality is we’ve diminished the value on their life.”
Denver Broncos march for George Floyd
Players and staff members for the NFL’s Denver Broncos took part in a rally over the death of George Floyd, marching from the state capitol and gathering in Civic Center park downtown.
“Your voice is heavy, and it matters,” fifth-year safety Justin Simmons said. “Why does it matter? For the same reasons you tell and ask each and every one of these athletes to your sons, to your daughters about what it takes to make it professionally, right? It’s that level of equal ground of ‘he’s an athlete, my son’s an athlete, my daughter’s an athlete. I need you to explain to them what it takes.
“We as a black community need our white brothers and sisters to explain to the rest of the white brothers and sisters out there what it means for ‘black lives matter.’”
The march comes one day after the Jacksonville Jaguars marched from their home stadium to the steps of the local sheriff’s department in protest of inequality, joining an unprecedented groundswell that’s brought together some of the NFL’s biggest stars.
The protests are gathering numbers across the country today, but one protester who spoke to CNN in Washington DC sounded a cautious note about how much would change following the recent demonstrations.
“It is something that has to be solved through legislation, through new precedents being set in the legal system, and social change so people’s mindsets change so we don’t keep fostering the sense of… underlying racial bias in the country. It cannot be solved with a couple marches,” Olivia Butler said.
Donald Trump’s approval rating has taken a hit over the last few weeks due to his response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the protests following the death of George Floyd. But the Guardian’s Simon Tisdall cautions against the view that Trump’s chances of reelection have been dealt a fatal blow.
Revived fury over racial injustice may galvanise the black vote – a crucial 12.5% of the electorate – against the president. In 2016, black turnout declined for the first time in 20 years.
Biden’s appeal among African-Americans, demonstrated in the primaries, could reverse that trend and provide winning margins in swing states. Among all voters, Biden’s current lead is 11%.
Yet Trump has been written off before. He has the advantage of incumbency and an enormous war chest. He plays dirty. By autumn, the economy may have revived, and the pandemic subsided. And gaffe-prone Biden carries much baggage.
The protests may have scared as many Middle America voters as they energised. Nobody knows how Trump’s Nixonian appeals to the “silent majority” and “law and order” will play in Peoria.
One thing is certain: he’s a long way from beaten.
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Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, has urged people who have attended demonstrations in the city to be tested for Covid-19 after concerns over the virus spreading in the packed crowds.
“Over the last week, residents across Seattle have been gathering to build community and share their anger and frustration about the killing of George Floyd and injustices against black Americans, here in Seattle and across the country. While I believe everyone should exercise their right and speak out, we must also remember we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” Durkan said in the statement.
Noa Yachot is on the ground at a march in New York City:
Thousands marched across the Brooklyn Bridge toward Manhattan’s City Hall on Saturday afternoon in a peaceful protest that began two miles away.
The march to the bridge blocked traffic on Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn’s main artery, but was met with motorists honking in support along the way. The route was dotted with mutual aid activists passing out masks, bottled water, and granola bars.
Police largely kept their distance from the crowd. Additional protests throughout the city are planned in multiple locations throughout the day.
Washington DC’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, has spoken at one of the protests in the city. She said she had “pushed the Army away from our city” after she called on Donald Trump to withdraw thousands of national guard soldiers and federal law enforcement officers from the capital on Friday.
She also spoke about her young daughter. “I want to grow up in a country where she is not scared to go to the grocery store, not scared to go to work,” she said. “Where she can grow up in an America where she can be a senator in the 51st state, Washington DC.”
She finished her speech by talking about telling the crowd to vote against the president in November’s elections. “Today we say no. In November, we say next,” she said.