Troops suited up in riot gear surrounded a barricaded White House on Saturday as Washington D.C. prepared for the largest George Floyd protest yet.
Activists have called for thousands of people to descend on the nation’s capital as the United States enters the twelfth straight day of demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism.
D.C. braced itself with members of the National Guard guarding famous landmarks and patrolling a new pedestrian-only demonstration area where streets were closed off to all traffic.
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’.
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 in front of Philadelphia’s famed art museum, outside Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s official residence as well as protests all over New York state, Georgia and in Chicago.
In New York City, large groups of health care workers joined the protests marching through Manhattan.
Meanwhile in Philadelphia, the march was briefly interrupted by a newly wed couple who joined the protest still in their wedding dress and suit.
In North Carolina, mourners and protesters stood side by side as a memorial and public viewing for George Floyd’s body was held.
Hundreds of cars lined up to pay their respects to the man whose death has sparked protests all over the world.
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Troops surrounded a barricaded White House on Saturday 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 fence
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Thousands of protesters gather along 16th Street NW near the White House on Saturday
WASHINGTON, D.C.: By just after midday on Saturday, at least 3,000 protesters had gathered by the Lincoln Memorial and another 3,000 near the White House as a twelfth day of demonstrations began across the United States
NEW YORK CITY: Healthcare workers with Frontline4Change protest alongside members of the public in Manhattan on Saturday holding signs reading ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Nurses Stand With You’
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.: A demonstrator holds up a child during a protest in Washington D.C. against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd. Demonstrations are scheduled throughout the day
As of just after midday, at least 6,000 had already gathered in Washington D.C., split between The Lincoln Memorial and those close to the White House.
D.C. Chief of Police Peter Newsham said the event ‘may be one of the largest that we’ve had in the city’ but would not commit to a number. He added that no arrests were made from protests since Tuesday and he hoped the streak would continue.’
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.
The city’s metro system also announced it was reopening cars closed due to coronavirus to boost rider capacity.
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.
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.’
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.: A large group of up to 3,000 protesters had gathered on the steps leading to the Lincoln Memorial by 12pm on Saturday as speakers began to lead the demonstration. Another protest was gathered at the White House
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Demonstrators march from the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday in a peaceful protest
WASHINGTON, D.C.:A family has their photo taken as they point at the new street sign for Black Lives Matter Plaza which was formally renamed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday in honor of the protests that returned to the city for a 12th day
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 family of protesters gathers to take a photo of themselves at the historic protests
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Uniformed military personnel stand in front of the White House ahead of Saturday’s protest
The D.C. Police Traffic shared the above map on Saturday to show the streets within the White House perimeter which have been closed off. The area within the red lines as become a pedestrian-only area for demonstrators
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’.
As the crowds outside grew larger and larger, NBC journalist Monica Alba said that reporters were told that President Trump is not expected to appear on camera on Saturday. The president had no scheduled public appearances but continued to tweet as he marked the anniversary of the D-day landings and shared videos celebrated his own Make America Great Again supporters.
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.: 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.: 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.: 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.: An estimated 3,000 demonstrators gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial at midday Saturday
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Demonstrators holding signs as the National Guard prepares in Washington D.C.
Protesters awaiting the start of a formal demonstration were met with music and people offering free snacks while more and more member of the National Guard were seen streaming inside the White House fences. Vendors also sold bottles of water and Black Lives Matter t-shirts.
All of the protesters wore masks or face coverings as the risk of coronavirus spread continues.
USA Today reporter Rebecca Morin described the atmosphere as the main demonstrations kicked off around midday as a block party feel as people sang and danced before beginning a march on the White House at 12pm.
Shortly after midday, larger chants started near Layette Square, group being led by a young girl crying ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’. Another group of young girls chanted: ‘We are young, but we are strong’.
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.
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Demonstrators walk past the U.S. Capitol Building on Saturday morning. Other demonstrations will be held in front of the U.S. Senate office buildings, the D.C. government’s Wilson Building, at Judiciary Square, Freedom Plaza
WASHINGTON, D.C.: People react as a preacher speaks to them while members of the National Guard stand near the Lincoln Memorial ahead of Black Lives Matter protests in Washington D.C. and across the country on Saturday
WASHINGTON, D.C.: A group of demonstrators gathering outside the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday. The national monument and others across the city are still being guarded by the National Guard despite protests remaining peaceful since Tuesday
WASHINGTON, D.C.: A demonstrator stands in front of the Lincoln Memorial during a peaceful protest on Saturday morning
The President has come under fire from Mayor Bowser and others for his handling of the protest triggered by George Floyd’s death.
She called for the withdrawal of all federal law enforcement officers and National Guard troops from the city’s streets after the tense scenes between law enforcement and protesters on Sunday and Monday ended and peaceful protesters won the upper hand.
Bowser added that it had become apparent that their presence was ‘unnecessary’ and may be ‘counterproductive to ensuring the protesters remain peaceful’.
The continued protests in D.C. kicked off as thousands of mourners arrived at George Floyd‘s memorial in North Carolina.
Local authorities anticipate somewhere between 30,000 to 40,000 people to come to the Cape Fear Conference B Headquarters in Raeford, North Carolina.
Floyd’s body arrived to the center as long lines formed outside the center as people came to pay their respects, WTVD reports.
RAEFORD, NORTH CAROLINA: The casket carrying George Floyd’s body at his memorial services at R.L Douglas Cape Fear
RAEFORD, NORTH CAROLINA: Floyd’s body arrived to the center as long lines formed and people came to pay their respects
RAEFORD, NORTH CAROLINA: A young mourner lines up for a public viewing for George Floyd in North Carolina
RAEFORD, NORTH CAROLINA: A motorcycle group arrives to pay respect to George Floyd at his memorial in North Carolina
RAEFORD, NORTH CAROLINA: Hundreds of cars line up as mourners arrive for the public viewing for George Floyd
RAEFORD, NORTH CAROLINA: Groups of mourners in face masks lined up in their hundreds at Floyd’s memorial
The father is a native of North Carolina, originally from Fayetteville.
Mourners could be seen wearing masks and various shirts with George Floyd’s face on it, with messages like ‘I Can’t Breathe’ on them.
Protesters joined them carrying ‘Black Lives Matter’ signs and wearing face masks.
Governor Roy Cooper ordered all North Carolina flags located at state facilities to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday.
Following the Saturday service, Floyd’s body will head off to Houston where there will be a public viewing. Floyd was raised in Houston and spent a lot of his time in the Texas city.
There were thousands more in Philadelphia where protesters chanted at police officers and National Guard members.
The massive group, organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation, marched on City Hall from the Philadelphia Art Museum as police officers in riot gear stood in formation along the route.
It was briefly interrupted by a wedding as the fully decked out bride and groom brought their party to the protest as they were loudly cheered on.
Newlyweds Kerry Anne and Michael Gordon joined the march as it traveled down Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Law enforcement had placed a truck in front of a ramp onto Interstate 676, where on Monday police had teargassed protesters who went onto the highway, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Although some protesters began to heckle officers as they neared the Municipal Buildings, police did not respond.
The city still has a curfew in place from 8pm until 6am Sunday.
In New York City, a number of protested took place in each of the different boroughs.
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY: Healthcare workers with Frontline4Change protest in Manhattan
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY: The protest was organized by Frontline4Change and medical staff were seen taking a knee, many dressed in their scrubs.
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY: Demonstrators march down Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn toward the Manhattan Bridge chanting slogans as thousands joined protests across the city again on Saturday for the 12th straight day
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Protesters march from Union Park during a George Floyd demonstration in Chicago on Saturday
BETHPAGE, NEW YORK: Demonstrators hold signs in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement in Bethpage Saturday. The group was joined by counter protesters who stood a block away but were in much smaller numbers
BETHPAGE, NEW YORK: A group of counter-demonstrators lined Stewart Avenue one block away from the demonstrators of the Black Lives Matter movement in Bethpage. They carried ‘All Lives Matter’ signs and wore MAGA hats
In Manhattan, healthcare workers joined in with the demonstrators holding signs like ‘Nurses Stand With You’ and ‘Doctors Stand With You’.
The protest was organized by Frontline4Change and medical staff were seen taking a knee, many dressed in their scrubs.
Further north in Harlem, thousands of protesters marching from 110th street and Central Park West after gathering near Frederick Douglass Circle.
The group planned to walk close to eight miles to gather with other protesters in Washington Square Park later in the day.
In Brooklyn, thousands more took to the streets for another day as they marched along Flatbush Avenue.
Further upstate in Bethpage, a smaller protest lined the streets to wave signs at cars as they passed.
A handful of counter protesters opposed them also carrying signs that read ‘All Lives Matter’ and ‘We Stand for The Flag and We Kneel for God’.
One of the counter protesters also wore a Trump Make America Great Again hat.
George Floyd died on May 25 after white police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with murder, put his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he lay handcuffed on the pavement, gasping that he couldn’t breathe.
Three other Minneapolis police officers – Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – were charged on Wednesday with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death.