D.C. prepares for George Floyd protest yet with one million expected

Troops line up outside the fenced-in White House as protesters begin to arrive in D.C. for George Floyd march that is set to attract one million people

  • Protests across the country show no signs of slowing down, as hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets for an 12th straight  day of demonstrations
  • Activists have called for one million people to descend on Washington D.C. as the city prepares itself for the larges protest yet
  • The White House was transformed into a fortress, with black fences between seven and nine feet high erected and troops surrounding the perimeter
  • D.C.’s mayor Muriel Bowser formally renamed the street outside ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza’ 
  • Chief of police Peter Newsham said the event today ‘may be one of the largest that we’ve had in the city’ 
  • Protesters are calling for police reform and an end to systemic racism 
  • Rallies were largely peaceful over the past few days, with powerful scenes playing out in multiple cities
  • The D.C. protests will be joined by many more as hundreds of thousands are expected to turn out across the country 

Troops surrounded a barricaded White House on Saturday morning as Washington D.C. prepared for the largest George Floyd protest yet. 

Activists have called for one million people to descend on Washington, D.C. Saturday for the twelfth straight day of demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism.

The nation’s capital braced itself with members of the National Guard guarding famous landmarks and patrolling a new pedestrian-only demonstration area as streets were closed off.

The White House remained a fortress, with black fences between seven and nine feet high erected around its perimeter cutting off protesters, as D.C.’s mayor formally renamed the street outside ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza’.

Streets were shut in downtown from 6am as the first of the dozens of demonstrations organized for the day began and the city’s metro system announced it was reopening cars closed due to coronavirus to boost rider capacity.  

The measures were taken in preparation for a planned demonstration protesting police brutality against black Americans and over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Troops surrounded a barricaded White House on Saturday morning as Washington D.C. prepared for the largest George Floyd protest yet. Protesters remain fenced off from the streets up to the White House by fences

WASHINGTON, D.C.: People raise their hands near the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday morning ahead of a protest expected t be the largest yet against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Streets around the White House were closed and marked with checkpoints as the National Guard prepares for up to one million people to descend on the city to demonstrate throughout Saturday 

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Protesters began to gather from early Saturday morning as dozens of demonstrations are scheduled. Pictured here is the stretch of road in front on the White House that has been painted with Black Lives Matter 

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Uniformed military personnel stand in front of the White House ahead of Saturday’s protest

D.C. Chief of Police Peter Newsham said the event today ‘may be one of the largest that we’ve had in the city’. He added that no arrests were made from protests since Tuesday and he hoped the streak would continue. 

The D.C. protests will be joined by many more as hundreds of thousands are expected to turn out across the country.

Among the other demonstrations taking place are protests at Trump golf club in Doral, Florida.; in front of Philadelphia’s famed art museum and outside Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s official residence. 

As day broke on Saturday, police closed down much of downtown D.C. to traffic and a pedestrian-only demonstration area was created between the southern boundary of the Mall and L Street NW to the north.

Saturday’s protests are not being run by one group or organizations with dozens announced across the capital and expected to mix and merge with each other throughout the day. No leaders are scheduled to speak and no agenda has been set as various grassroots movements join forces. 

Starting at 6am, the demonstrations are expected to run though the day with some planning to stay until Sunday morning. 

They will target city officials and buildings as well as federal government buildings. 

Demonstrations will be held in front of the U.S. Senate office buildings, the D.C. government’s Wilson Building, at Judiciary Square and Freedom Plaza, and the White House. 

The number expected has been difficult to calculate as agencies normally able to predict a number have been off duty or scaled back due to the coronavirus outbreak. According to the Washington Post, the Park has stopped issuing protest permits and in-person meetings between agencies and community organizers have been halted. 

‘We anticipate the largest demonstrations with regards to numbers that we’ve seen in the city to date,’ said Police Chief Peter Newsham. 

‘And we anticipate that the protesters will continue to be as peaceful as they have been over the past couple of days.’ 

In preparation, the D.C. Metro system in reopening the first and last cars to boost capacity for rail riders. 

The cars were closed off earlier in the coronavirus pandemic to keep train operators from interacting with passengers. 

They have said the move will be indefinite, not just for Saturday. 

The first of the protesters formed groups outside the White House and along 16th street close by where D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had the phrase ‘Black lives matter’ painted in giant yellow letters on Friday. 

She also formally renamed a street in front of the White House ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza’ in tribute.  

The move escalated the mayor’s feud with President Trump who she has sparred with over the last week for control over law enforcement on the city’s streets. 

Bowser’s chief of staff John Falcicchio told The Washington Post that they were to remind the president and law enforcement that the city’s allegiance is to peaceful demonstrators’. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.: National Guard soldiers continue to guard the Lincoln Memorial as Washington D.C. kicks off another day of anti-police brutality and anti-racism protests with up to one million people expected to flood the streets through the day

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Large barriers remain around the White House to hold protesters back as it built itself into a fortress ahead of Saturday’s demonstrations. A pedestrian-only area has been created for those demonstrating

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Crowds  began to gather early Saturday with the first of the protests kicking off. There are a number of demonstrations happening throughout the day run by different organizations which are expected to mix and merge

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Protesters gathered at the newly renamed “Black Lives Matter Plaza” outside the White House on Saturday morning as the first of the demonstrations began. The plaza was formally renamed by the city’s mayor

WASHINGTON, D.C.: A mural reading ‘Black Lives Matter’ is seen on 16th street near the White House as the first of the day’s protesters began to arrive. There are up to one million people expected to descend on the city in the next few hours

WASHINGTON, D.C.: A family of protesters gathers to take a photo of themselves at the historic protests

The heavy presence of law enforcement in the nation’s capital continues Saturday despite protests over the last number of days remaining peaceful and a lifting of the curfew in the city on Thursday. 

Bad weather failed to stop thousands of people from taking to the streets in Washington, D.C.  Friday. 

On Friday afternoon, demonstrators donned raincoats and propped up umbrellas alongside their placards as rain poured over the nation’s capital. 

But despite the drenching, the protesters persisted in their calls for police reform and an end to systemic racism as they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.  

Several stopped outside new fortress-style fencing erected around the front of the White House to savage President Trump and his reaction to their peaceful protests.  

WASHINGTON, DC: Bad weather failed to stop thousands of people from taking to the streets in Washington, D.C. on Friday for another day of protests over police brutality and systemic racism

WASHINGTON, DC: The protesters persisted in their calls for police reform and an end to systemic racism as they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue

WASHINGTON, DC: Demonstrators gather on 16th St. near Lafayette Park during a peaceful protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd

WASHINGTON, DC: Demonstrators donned raincoats and propped up umbrellas alongside their placards as rain poured over the nation’s capital

WASHINGTON, DC: Drenched demonstrators stopped outside new fortress-style fencing erected around the front of the White House to savage President Trump and his reaction to their peaceful protests

WASHINGTON, DC: Demonstrators lay in the middle of the street as they call for police reform and an end to systemic racism 

Meanwhile, there were powerful scenes in other cities across the country, with thousands turning out to take a knee in Hermosa Beach, California and demonstrators lying in front of the Orlando Police Department in Florida. 

In Jackson, Mississippi outraged  residents stood outside the state’s Capitol Building  to protest the Attorney General’s recent decision to drop a manslaughter charge against a white officer who had been charged in the October 2015 shooting death of black man Ricky Ball. 

‘I am not afraid. You want me to be afraid,’ organizer  David Horton told the crowd. 

‘I’m here to declare to you right now, we will stand up, we will unite as a community.’ 

Several protesters tried to enter the Capitol building to deliver a letter to the Attorney General criticizing her decision to drop the charges but were turned away at the door by guards, according to The Clarion Ledger. 

HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA: Protesters took a knee in Hermosa Beach during a Black Lives Matter rally in the coastal enclave 

ORLANDO, FLORIDA: Protesters lie down in front of the Orlando Police Department on Friday as demonstrations continue in the city 

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI: Outraged residents stood outside the state’s Capitol Building to protest the Attorney General’s recent decision to drop a manslaughter charge against a white officer who had been charged in the October 2015 shooting death of black man Ricky Ball

Makayla Hendrick, 9, holds a protest sign as she prays during a protest on behalf of her late father, Ricky Ball, who was killed by a police officer in 2015

 Meanwhile, in New York City there was a heavy police presence as tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out for another day of protests. 

Tensions between cops and activists have flared in recent days, but there appeared to be less drama as crowds marched through Manhattan on Friday. 

Dozens of cops were seen walking alongside with protesters, while a cavalcade of police vans followed with their sirens flashing. 

There were also rallies held in other parts of New York, with several surfers turning out on the beach at Montauk for a Black Lives Matter demonstration. 

Several demonstrators also bought flowers to place on the sand to remember George Floyd, who was laid to rest at a memorial in Minneapolis on Thursday. 

NEW YORK CITY: In the Big Apple, there was a heavy police presence as tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out for another day of protests

NEW YORK CITY: Dozens of cops were seen walking alongside with protesters, while a cavalcade of police vans followed with their sirens flashing

NEW YORK CITY: Tensions between cops and activists have flared in recent days, but there appeared to be less drama as crowds marched through Brooklyn  on Friday

NEW YORK CITY: A demonstrator holds up a placard at a rally in Central Park 

MONTAUK, THE HAMPTONS: several surfers turning out on the beach at Montauk for a Black Lives Matter demonstration

MONTAUK, THE HAMPTONS: One mom also bought flowers to lay on the sand to remember George Floyd, who was laid to rest at a memorial in Minneapolis on Thursday

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