THOUSANDS of George Floyd protesters marched on the barricaded White House protected by troops with riot shields on the 12th day of demonstrations.
Uniformed troops surrounded the President‘s abode as demonstrators poured into the nation’s capital on Saturday to decry institutional racism in the wake of Floyd‘s brutal arrest – and they showed no signs of letting up.
Grassroots activists called on thousands of Americans to show up as DC braces itself for another weekend of unrest, guarding landmarks and patrolling closed-off streets.
Black fences between seven and nine feet high were erected around its perimeter of the White House to prevent protestors from accessing it.
Military vehicles and officers in fatigues closed off much of downtown Washington to traffic ahead of the protest, which authorities estimated would attract up to 200,000 people outraged by Floyd’s death.
Large protests also took place across the U.S. and in major cities overseas, including London, Paris, Berlin and Sydney, Australia.
Chief of Police Peter Newsham noted that it “may be one of the largest that we’ve had in the city” and said no arrests had been made there since Tuesday, a trend he hoped would continue.
“We anticipate the largest demonstrations with regards to numbers that we’ve seen in the city to date,” he told the Washington Post.
“And we anticipate that the protesters will continue to be as peaceful as they have been over the past couple of days.”
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser formally renamed the street outside “Black Lives Matter Plaza” in the wake of Floyd’s death on May 25 at the hands of Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, who was charged with his murder.
The phrase was painted in enormous yellow letters on Friday ahead of what is expected to be the biggest protest yet.
At least 6,000 people had already gathered in DC between The Lincoln Memorial and nearer the White House as of 12 pm on Saturday.
Last night, Trump issued a thinly-veiled dig at Bowser on Twitter, describing her as “grossly incompetent, and in no way qualified to be running an important city like Washington, DC.”
“If the great men and women of the National Guard didn’t step forward, she would have looked no better than her counterpart Mayor in Minneapolis!” he raged.
Earlier on Friday, the President said the unemployment numbers marked “a great day” for Floyd – 12 hours after retweeting Candace Owen’s video saying he was “not a good person.”
Members of the National Guard into the White House fences as the protest kicked off while chants of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” could be heard near Layette Square.
Most of the demonstrators donned masks or face coverings to stop the spread of coronavirus in the enormous crowd of people.
Cops had closed down much of the downtown area to traffic where a pedestrian-only protest was designated between the Mall and L Street NW, while the metro system also reopened cars indefinitely after they were closed as a result of COVID-19.
Some demonstrators are even planning to run through until Sunday, focussing on the US Senate office buildings, the DC government’s Wilson Building, Judiciary Square and Freedom Plaza, and the White House.
The Post reported the Park stopped issuing protest permits, while in-person meetings between agencies and community organizers were stopped.
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While protests formed in DC and further afield in London, Paris, Berlin and Sydney, Australia, in the small town of Raeford, North Carolina, people waited in line outside a church to mourn his death.
In the town where Floyd was born 46 years ago, hundreds of mourners lined up to squeeze into a church to pay their respects in groups.
A private memorial service was scheduled for later in the day.