Protesters were generally peaceful in Washington, D.C.’s Black Lives Matter Plaza on Wednesday night.
The demonstrations came in the wake of the death of George Floyd on May 25 and Rayshard Brooks on June 12 while in police custody. Floyd died after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for about nine minutes, video showed, and Brooks died while fleeing Atlanta police detention, allegedly with a taser.
Protesters gathered in Black Lives Matter Plaza around 6:30 p.m. before marching northeast up I Street and New York Avenue NW.
The protesters chanted, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now! If we don’t get it? Shut it down!”
Members of the D.C. National Guard were deployed to protect national monuments on Wednesday. Around 400 unarmed troops were stationed around the city, The Washington Post reported.
The troops had personal protective gear, but did not carry pepper spray or tear gas, WaPo reported, citing Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Craig Clapper, the Guard’s spokesman.
Protesters marched through the streets of D.C., chanting “black lives matter” and calling for people to “say their names,” referring to those who have died in police custody. Occasionally, they knelt in the middle of intersections to allow the people in the back time to catch up while continuing to chant. (RELATED: DC Protests Largely Peaceful After National Guard Called In)
Protesters clashed with a man claiming to be a preacher in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. The man told protesters “the church is not a building” after they told him to attempt to enter St. John’s.
The man said “the church is closed,” and protesters yelled at him to leave if he was not at Black Lives Matter Plaza to stand for the movement.
Protesters followed the man down the road telling him to “get out,” and a D.C. Metro Police Officer had to escort the man away from protesters.
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