Hundreds of thousands of people across the United States—and, in stunning displays of solidarity, around the world—poured into the streets Saturday demanding an end to police brutality and racial injustice in the largest day of demonstrations since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis officers last week.
Enormous and diverse crowds of demonstrators marched in the streets of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, and other major cities in a striking display of non-violent mass action. Participants in the historic demonstrations voiced hope that the remarkable energy behind the protests can be transformed into a sustained movement for change.
“It feels like it’s more than just a moment,” 57-year-old Daniele Darby of Maryland told the Washington Post at a demonstration in D.C. “Finally, finally it’s more than just a moment.”
Saturday marked the 12th consecutive day of nationwide demonstrations, which have grown exponentially even in the face of vicious and ongoing police repression, mass arrests, and military intimidation tactics ordered by President Donald Trump.
“This is incredible,” tweeted one observer in response to the massive demonstration in Philadelphia, where tens of thousands of people filled Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Police estimated that at least 30,000 people rallied in Chicago, and thousands more marched and rallied in the nation’s capital.
The crowd in Philly is…unfathomable? I can’t even guess. Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/02ZIcyTXW5— Bradford Pearson (@BradfordPearson) June 6, 2020
Thousands protesting outside Lincoln Memorial in #WashingtonDC today for #BlackLivesMatter. Definitely biggest day of George Floyd protests here.— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) June 6, 2020
You can see Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument in background: pic.twitter.com/TwgjAEPoLf
As protests kicked off around the nation, Floyd’s friends and family gathered for a private memorial service Saturday near Fayetteville, North Carolina, the place of Floyd’s birth.
Hundreds of mourners lined up outside Cape Fear Conference B Church for a public viewing ahead of the service.
“It’s important that we all keep coming out until things change,” said 25-year-old Taylor Guary.
REMEMBERING GEORGE FLOYD: Friends and family witness the casket of George Floyd being moved from the memorial service in North Carolina, where hundreds of mourners attended to celebrate Floyd's life. https://t.co/Ew4g5ulabS pic.twitter.com/BOqiBHsJfv— ABC News (@ABC) June 6, 2020
In Minneapolis, near the site of Floyd’s death, thousands of people took part in a march demanding that Mayor Jacob Frey immediately begin defunding the city’s police department.
live march coverage in NE Minneapolis continues. Tune in nowhttps://t.co/hbxeO3B9gr— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) June 6, 2020
“We need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said during a rally in Minneapolis Saturday afternoon. “We don’t want your damn reforms… This department is inherently beyond reform.”