Protesters pack Washington, D.C., as largely peaceful demonstrations continue across U.S. | CBC News (2023)

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities on Saturday to demand an end to racism and brutality by U.S. law enforcement as protests over the killing of an unarmed black man by Minneapolis police entered a 12th day.

The protest in the U.S. capital was shaping up as the largest of the marches seen this week in cities and smaller towns nationwide, as well as in countries around the world. 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 nearly nine minutes.

Near the front of the White House, Katrina Fernandez, 42, said she was both hopeful and impatient in joining the protests to demand what she viewed as long 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 said. "We can't take much more."

WATCH | CBC's Katie Simpson reports from the newly renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza:

Protesters pack Washington, D.C., as largely peaceful demonstrations continue across U.S. | CBC News (1)

Massive crowds of protesters march in Washington, D.C., against systemic racism, police brutality

(Video) DC Justice for George Floyd protest
Protesters marched in the U.S. capital following the killing of George Floyd, massing near the newly renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Saturday's protests took on a relaxed tone compared with the more angry though mostly peaceful demonstrations of recent days. The week began with sporadic episodes of arson, looting and vandalism that authorities and activists have blamed largely on outside instigators and criminal elements.

Authorities have at times resorted to heavy-handed tactics as they sought to enforce curfews in some cities, including New York and Washington, where baton-swinging police in riot gear dispersed otherwise orderly crowds.

Those clashes have only reinforced the focus of the protests into a broader movement seeking far-reaching reforms of the criminal justice system and its treatment of racial minorities.

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Delonno Carroll, a 27-year-old construction worker, said he had come out to demonstrate because he "simply cannot" sit and watch from home.

"Our voices need to be heard," Carroll said. "No longer can we have a man call out for his mom on the streets and have to go through what George Floyd did."

  • 2 Buffalo officers charged with assault after video showed police shoving 75-year-old man
  • Protesting amid a pandemic: New Yorkers vow to mask up and keep fighting

Police — who drew criticism for firing smoke grenades and chemical irritant "pepper balls" before charging into peaceful protesters near the White House on Tuesday — were out in smaller numbers around the marchers on Saturday afternoon and generally in a more relaxed posture, wearing patrol uniforms rather than body armour and helmets.

Some passing motorists honked their horns in support, and some city residents came out on the street to hand out water and snacks to offer protesters relief from the sweltering heat.

A second memorial service was held for Floyd on Saturday in North Carolina, where he was born. Hundreds lined up at a church in Raeford, N.C., to pay their respects during a public viewing, and a private service for the family was scheduled for later in the day.

Other demonstrations across U.S.

In Seattle,police used flash bang devices and pepper spray to disperse a crowd of protesters. The mayhem in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood followed a large, peaceful demonstration earlier in the day with medical workers demonstrating against racism and police brutality. It also came a day after Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best imposed a 30-day moratorium on the department's use of one kind of tear gas.

(Video) Watch NBC News NOW Live - June 2

KING-TV reports that a small group of protesters started throwing objects at officers about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Police ordered the crowd to move, then used incendiary devices.

Earlier in New York City, a large crowd of protesters crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into lower Manhattan on Saturday afternoon, marching up a deserted Broadway, where many of the shops were boarded up, according to social media posts. Thousands of others gathered in Harlem near the northwest corner of Central Park to march downtown, about 100 blocks, to the city's Washington Square Park.

In Philadelphia, demonstrators gathered on the steps of Philadelphia Art Museum steps chanting, "No justice, no peace." Others marched along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, through John F. Kennedy Plaza, and around Philadelphia City Hall.

The Philadelphia Inquirer's top editor, meanwhile, is resigning after an uproar over a headline lamenting damage to businesses amid the protests, the paper announced Saturday. The newspaper said Stan Wischnowski, 58, was stepping down as senior vice president and executive editor.

The Inquirer had apologized for a "horribly wrong" decision to use the headline, "Buildings Matter, Too," on a column Tuesday about looting and vandalism on the margins of protests of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis at the hands of a white police officer.

The backlash came as The New York Times was widely criticized for publishing an opinion piece by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton advocating the use of federal troops to quell the protests.

In California, the country's most populous state, demonstrations occurred in many cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco, where protesters briefly blocked traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge as motorists honked in solidarity.

Protesters pack Washington, D.C., as largely peaceful demonstrations continue across U.S. | CBC News (2)

Demonstrators in Washington appeared to be from diverse backgrounds and were dressed for the heat. A group wore hospital worker's clothing and held signs with slogans including "White Coats 4 Black Lives" and "I Love Being Black."

Thousands took to the streets across Europe and Australia, as did hundreds in Tokyo and Seoul, in support of U.S. protests against police brutality.

Protesters pack Washington, D.C., as largely peaceful demonstrations continue across U.S. | CBC News (3)

(Video) Peaceful March in DC for George Floyd: May 31, 2020

Hundreds of demonstrators who marched past the George Washington University Hospital chanted "Hands up, Don't shoot!" "We March for hope, not for hate," and "I can't breathe!"

That last 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 part of a long line of black men and women killed by white officers.

Many of those protesting in Washington were white. "Especially as a white person, I benefit from the status quo," said protester Michael Drummond, a 40-year-old government employee. "So not showing up and actively working to deconstruct institutional racism makes me complicit."

'Extreme tactics'

A federal judge in Denver ordered city police to stop using tear gas, plastic bullets and other "less-than-lethal" devices such as flash grenades. His ruling citedexamples of protesters and journalists being injured by police.

  • Demonstrators in U.S. vow to sustain momentum until change happens
  • Minneapolis violence shows police learned few lessons from Ferguson riots, experts say

"These are peaceful demonstrators, journalists, and medics who have been targeted with extreme tactics meant to suppress riots, not to suppress demonstrations," U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson wrote in the ruling.

In Minneapolis, Democratic city leaders voted to end the use of knee restraints and choke holds, while California's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, said he would end state police training of restraints that restrict the carotid artery in the neck.

Protesters pack Washington, D.C., as largely peaceful demonstrations continue across U.S. | CBC News (4)

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state would lead the way in passing reforms, including banning choke holds and making police disciplinary records publicly available.

"Mr. Floyd's murder was the breaking point," said Cuomo, a Democrat. "People are saying enough is enough."

Black Lives Matter activists have called for cities to defund police departments. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat who in April proposed increasing law enforcement funding, this week reversed course and said he would seek some $150 million US in cuts to the Los Angeles Police Department.

(Video) Protests In Charlottesville Result Of New Police Trainings After 2017 Violence | NBC News NOW

WATCH | What does it mean to defund police?:

Protesters pack Washington, D.C., as largely peaceful demonstrations continue across U.S. | CBC News (5)

Defunding the police could mean replacing officers with social workers, says expert

2 years ago

Duration 7:41

(Video) Watch NBC News NOW Live - June 4

Calls to defund the police have been growing as people protest police brutality in the U.S., Canada and around the world. Alex Vitale, author of The End of Policing, explains what defunding the police might look like.

The demonstrations have erupted as the American public and businesses struggle to recover from sweeping lockdowns imposed to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Disease experts have said the protests could spark new outbreaks.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has sparred with U.S. President Donald Trump over his sometimes heavy-handed response to the rallies and marches in the nation's capital, on Friday had the slogan "Black Lives Matter" painted in massive yellow letters on a street leading to the White House.

After nightfall, Bowser had light projections spelling out the words beamed onnearby buildings, which she said on Twitter was a "night light" aimed at Trump.


What was the largest peaceful protest in history? ›

Jump to:
  • Indian farmers protest (2020-2021)
  • George Floyd and Black Lives Matter (2020)
  • Women's March (2017)
  • Anti-Iraq War protests (2003)
  • Tiananmen Square (1989)
  • The Baltic Way (1989)
  • People's Protest (1986)
  • Earth Day (1970)
10 Mar 2022

What was the largest peaceful protest in US history? ›

1963: March on Washington

More than 200,000 protesters gathered for a peaceful demonstration outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. to call for racial equality in August 1963. There, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his now-iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

What was the outcome of the George Floyd protests? ›

As a result of the protests, numerous controversial forms of symbolism were either changed or removed. In the United States, changes focused on removing and prohibiting displays of the Confederate battle flag; the flag of Mississippi was changed to remove a Confederate battle insignia.

What was the largest protest in Washington DC? ›

On 28 August 1963, more than 200,000 demonstrators took part in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in the nation's capital. The march was successful in pressuring the administration of John F. Kennedy to initiate a strong federal civil rights bill in Congress.

What are two examples of a peaceful protest? ›

Possible examples of non-violent protests are the Freedom Rides, sit-ins, boycotts, and marches.

What are some examples of peaceful protest? ›

Tactics of nonviolent resistance, such as bus boycotts, Freedom Rides, sit-ins, marches, and mass demonstrations, were used during the Civil Rights Movement.

What state has the most protest? ›

This is a list of some of their locations in the United States. The state with the most protests is California, which has over fifty protest locations (see List of Occupy movement protest locations in California).

What's the biggest protest in history? ›

The one in Rome involved around three million people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest anti-war rally in history.

What is the biggest protest in US history? ›

1George Floyd Protests/2020–2022 United States racial unrest15,000,000 - 26,000,000
2Earth Day20,000,000
32017 Women's March3,300,000–5,600,000
4March for Our Lives1,200,000-2,000,000
23 more rows

What are some recent protests? ›

  • 3.1 Jason Walker protests, January 10, 2022–January 20, 2022.
  • 3.2 Civil rights trial of Kueng, Lane, and Thao protests, January 24, 2022–ongoing.
  • 3.3 Amir Locke Protests, February 2, 2022–April 8, 2022.
  • 3.4 Patrick Lyoya Protests, April 4, 2022-ongoing.
  • 3.5 Jayland Walker protests, June 27, 2022–July 17, 2022.

How many businesses were destroyed during the George Floyd riots? ›

Nearly 1,500 property locations in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area suffered some type of property damage during the riots, such as by fire, looting, smashed windows or doors, graffiti, ransacking, or other forms of vandalism.

Why did the George Floyd protests start? ›

Following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, public outcry over police brutality and systemic racism ignited popular protests across the United States.

Was the March on Washington the biggest protest? ›

The March on Washington was one of the largest demonstrations for human rights in US history, and a spectacular example of the power of non-violent direct action.

What were people protesting in DC in 1965? ›

The SDS March on Washington to End the War in Vietnam, held on April 17th, 1965, turned out to be the largest peace protest up to that point in American history, drawing between 15,000 and 25,000 college students and others to the nation's capital.

When was the Poor People's March in DC? ›

(1968) Poor Peoples March at Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C . , 1968.

Is peaceful protest a human right? ›

To be heard, citizens band together in solidarity and demand their rights are respected. Protest is a key tactic for humanity to win. Positive change for human rights would not happen without the right to protest. Many of the great movements of our world's history used protest and benefited humanity as a whole.

What are three types of peaceful protest? ›

Tactics include protests, boycotts, sit-ins, civil disobedience and alternative institutions. Nonviolent resistance has been shown empirically to be twice as effective as armed struggle in achieving major political goals.

What are the benefits of peaceful protests? ›

Peaceful protest can be an effective and beneficial way to make a point about how many in a population feel strongly about an issue, yet many protests do not go as intended. The idea is to calmly make your opinion known, to get noticed and to demonstrate the sheer mass of opposition to a particular topic.

What are 5 types of protest? ›

  • 3.1 Written demonstration.
  • 3.2 Civil disobedience demonstrations.
  • 3.3 As a residence.
  • 3.4 Destructive.
  • 3.5 Non-destructive.
  • 3.6 Direct action.
  • 3.7 Against a government.
  • 3.8 Against a military shipment.

What are the 6 types of protest? ›

Types of Protest
  • Sit-In Protests. A sit-in protest is just that. ...
  • Marches & Rallies. A march or rally is a non-violent protest where a group of individuals gathers with signs, posters and more providing information about their cause. ...
  • Posters & Banners. ...
  • Hunger Strike. ...
  • Flag Burning. ...
  • Riots, Looting & Vandalism. ...
  • Bombing Protests.

What is another word for peaceful protest? ›

peaceful protest
  • demonstration.
  • protest.
  • revolt.
  • riot.
  • sit-down.
  • walkout.
  • complaint.
  • fast.

Which country has most number of riots? ›

A riot is a violent disturbance against public peace. Riots are a problem faced everywhere in the world. They are unpredictable and dangerous, and thousands of people die every year because of them. Syria has the highest number of riots in the world.

What is the protest capital of the world? ›

South Africa has been dubbed "the protest capital of the world", with one of the highest rates of public protests in the world.

Can you protest anywhere in the US? ›

The First Amendment protects your right to assemble and express your views through protest. However, police and other government officials are allowed to place certain narrow restrictions on the exercise of speech rights. Make sure you're prepared by brushing up on your rights before heading out into the streets.

What protests have been successful? ›

Famous Protests That Made a Difference
  • Boston Tea Party—December 16, 1773.
  • Women's Suffrage Parade—March 3, 1913.
  • March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom—August 18, 1963.
  • Stonewall Inn Riots—June 28 to July 3, 1969.
  • May Day Protests—May 3 to May 5, 1971.
  • The March for Our Lives—March 24, 2018.
19 Nov 2020

What was the first violent protest in America? ›

The October 1967 demonstration against the Dow Chemical Company (and by proxy, against the Vietnam War) at the University of Wisconsin was the first violent antiwar demonstration to take place on a university campus. But from that point on, the antiwar movement grew larger.

What is the world's largest human rights march? ›

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
Resulted in200,000 to 300,000 people participate Speech "I Have a Dream" delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. Catalyst to pass Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965
5 more rows

Why did students protest the draft? ›

Protesting the Draft

Demonstrations grew in 1966, spurred by a change in the Selective Service System's draft policy that exposed students in the bottom of half of their classes to the possibility that their deferments would be revoked and they would be drafted.

Why is the right to protest important in a democracy? ›

Protest thus often serves to promote Social justice and also to protect and promote. the formal safeguards and institutions of liberal democracy which play some role in sustaining social justice.

What was the most successful civil rights protest? ›

March On Washington For Jobs and Freedom

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was a mass civil rights protest that took place on August 28, 1963 in Washington DC. Over 200,000 demonstrators joined together at the National Mall, and the protest was considered a huge success.

What are 4 types of protests? ›

Types of demonstrations and unrest
  • Marching, where groups of people walk together through the streets. ...
  • Rallies, where people gather at a location to hear speakers.
  • Pickets and sit-ins, where people surround, occupy or block off an area.
  • Riots, where protesters turn violent against people or property.
9 Nov 2022

What are some things people are protesting for? ›

  • Abortion.
  • Environment.
  • Globalization.
  • Guns.
  • Immigration.
  • Labor.
  • LGBTQ+ rights.
  • Race.

What are current social movements? ›

Examples of those new movements include the women's movement, the ecology movement, gay rights movement and various peace movements, among others.

Is Minneapolis being rebuilt? ›

Minneapolis alone sustained $350 million in damages. Nearly two years later, the vibrant neighborhood with many immigrant-owned small businesses is still rebuilding.

How much property was destroyed in the George Floyd riots? ›

However, arson, vandalism, and looting that occurred between May 26 and June 8 caused approximately $1–2 billion in damages nationally, the highest recorded damage from civil disorder in U.S. history, and surpassing the record set during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

How many buildings destroyed Minneapolis riots? ›

At cost of $350 million, approximately 1,300 properties in Minneapolis were damaged by the civil unrest, of which nearly 100 were entirely destroyed.
George Floyd protests in Minneapolis–Saint Paul
StatusInitial government mobilization to the unrest ended on June 7, 2020. Prolonged racial unrest is ongoing.
12 more rows

What do you mean by riots? ›

ri·​ot ˈrī-ət. : a violent public disorder. specifically : a tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons assembled together and acting with a common intent. : public violence, tumult, or disorder. : a random or disorderly profusion.

What defines police brutality? ›

Police brutality is the excessive and unwarranted use of force by law enforcement against an individual or a group. It is an extreme form of police misconduct and is a civil rights violation. Police brutality includes, but is not limited to, beatings, shootings, "improper takedowns, and unwarranted use of tasers."

Did the George Floyd bill pass? ›

The bill passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on a mostly party-line vote of 220–212, but not the evenly divided Senate amid opposition from Republicans. Negotiations between Republican and Democratic senators on a reform bill collapsed in September 2021.

What were 2 reasons for the March on Washington? ›

March on Washington, in full March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, political demonstration held in Washington, D.C., in 1963 by civil rights leaders to protest racial discrimination and to show support for major civil rights legislation that was pending in Congress.

Was the March on Washington violent or nonviolent? ›

The “Big Six” led the March (all except James Farmer, who was imprisoned in Louisiana), but the most memorable moment came when Martin Luther King Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The March was orderly and without any violent incidents.

What was the purpose of the March on Washington in 1963? ›

On August 28 1963, a quarter of a million people rallied in Washington, D.C. to demand an end to segregation, fair wages and economic justice, voting rights, education, and long overdue civil rights protections.

What happened when they marched on DC? ›

The march was successful in pressuring the administration of John F. Kennedy to initiate a strong federal civil rights bill in Congress. During this event, Martin Luther King delivered his memorable “I Have a Dream” speech. The 1963 March on Washington had several precedents.

What are the effects of the DC riots of 1968? ›

The property loss caused by the riots was extensive and included damage to 1,199 buildings, including 283 residential and 1,590 commercial units. Losses to at least partially insured properties in the concentrated area of looting and destruction were estimated at $25 million.

Who threatened a March on Washington DC? ›

Philip Randolph, the head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, threatened to lead a peaceful march of 10,000 African Americans on Washington, DC, to demand an end to racial segregation in the government, especially the military, and to demand greater equality in the hiring practices of defense industries.

Why do we need to help poor people? ›

Helping poor and needy people is vital to strengthen the whole society. We raise the entire community as we provide support and a helping hand to those less fortunate than us. Helping them lead a better life for themselves and their community later on in life.

What was the purpose of the poor people's March? ›

The Poor People's Campaign sought to address poverty through income and housing. The campaign would help the poor by dramatizing their needs, uniting all races under the commonality of hardship and presenting a plan to start to a solution.

Was the March on Washington a turning point? ›

The March on Washington is considered by many to be a major turning point in the fight for civil and voting rights for Black Americans. Following the event, the speakers travelled to the White House for a discussion of proposed civil rights legislation with President Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Who was the first peaceful protest? ›

King led a movement of non-violent, peaceful protests to fight racial injustice in the United States. The first example of this movement began in December of 1955. It was the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the southern state of Alabama.

What is the biggest protest? ›

1George Floyd Protests/2020–2022 United States racial unrest15,000,000 - 26,000,000
2Earth Day20,000,000
32017 Women's March3,300,000–5,600,000
4March for Our Lives1,200,000-2,000,000
23 more rows

What are the biggest protests in recent history? ›

India's farmers' protests

On November 26, 2020, trade unions in India said 250 million people participated in a 24-hour general strike to demand the government repeal three laws that would deregulate the agricultural sector. This would make it the largest protest gathering in history.

What was the biggest riot in history? ›

1947 – Partition riots, India and modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, the hardest hit region was the densely populated state of Punjab (today divided between India and Pakistan), death toll estimates between 500,000 and 2,000,000, the deadliest riots known to humankind.

What is the 99% protest? ›

"We are the 99%" is a political slogan and an implicit economic claim of "Occupy" protesters. It refers to the increased concentration of income and wealth since the 1970s among the top 1% of income earners in the United States.

What is the longest running protest in history? ›

The White House Peace Vigil is an anti-nuclear weapons peace vigil started by William Thomas in 1981. Thomas believed it to be the longest running uninterrupted anti-war protest in U.S. history.

What country has the most riots? ›

A riot is a violent disturbance against public peace. Riots are a problem faced everywhere in the world. They are unpredictable and dangerous, and thousands of people die every year because of them. Syria has the highest number of riots in the world.

What was the most violent protest in history? ›

  • 1967 Detroit Riots. The 1967 Detroit Riots were among the most violent and destructive riots in U.S. history. ...
  • 6 Violent Uprisings in the United States.

Do riots happen in winter? ›

He points out that riots can occur in winter, as did the Russian revolution. Cocking believes the link between disorder and hot weather is much looser - people are just more likely to congregate outside in hot weather.


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