Tens of thousands of people march in US anti-racism rallies

7 June 2020, 10:02 | Updated: 7 June 2020, 10:26

Tens of thousands of people peacefully marched against racism and police brutality in US cities yesterday.

Protesters gathered in cities across the US calling for fundamental change in the relationship between law enforcement and citizens in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the black man whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police has galvanised the expanding movement.

Tens of thousands marched in the biggest mobilisation since Mr Floyd died 12 days ago. Many cities have begun lifting curfews that authorities imposed following initial angry protests, riots and looting.

Tens of thousands of people marched in US cities
Tens of thousands of people marched in US cities. Picture: PA

Authorities have softened restrictions as the number of arrests plummeted.

Demonstrations also reached four other continents, ending in clashes in two European cities.

The largest US demonstration was in Washington, where streams of protesters flooded streets closed to traffic.

Peopl gathered at the Capitol, on the National Mall and in neighbourhoods. Some turned intersections into dance floors. Tents offered snacks and water.

At the White House, which was fortified with new fencing and extra security measures, chants and cheers could be heard.

President Donald Trump, who has urged authorities to crack down on unrest, downplayed the demonstration, tweeting: "Much smaller crowd in D.C. than anticipated."

Elsewhere, the backdrops included some of the nation's most famous landmarks.

Peaceful protesters walked across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

They walked the boulevards of Hollywood and a Nashville, Tennessee, street famous for country music-themed bars and restaurants.

In Philadelphia and Chicago, people chanted, carried signs and occasionally knelt in silence.

A large crowd of medical workers, many in lab coats and scrubs, marched to Seattle's City Hall.

They held signs reading: "Police violence and racism are a public health emergency" and "Nurses kneel with you, not on you" - a reference to how a white officer pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes.

In Raeford, North Carolina, a town near Floyd's birthplace, people lined up outside a Free Will Baptist church, waiting to enter in small groups.

At a private memorial service, mourners sang along with a choir. At the front of the chapel was a large photo of Floyd and a portrait of him adorned with an angel's wings and halo.

Floyd's body will go to Houston, where he lived before Minneapolis, for another memorial in the coming days.

Protesters and their supporters in public office say they are determined to turn the outpouring into change, notably overhauling policing policies.

Many protesters urged officials to "defund the police," which some painted in enormous yellow letters on the street leading to the White House near a "Black Lives Matter" mural that the mayor had added a day earlier.

Some change has already come.

Protesters march near the Capitol Hill during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd
Protesters march near the Capitol Hill during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd. Picture: PA

Minneapolis officials have agreed to ban chokeholds and neck restraints and require that officers stop colleagues who are using improper force.

California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the state's police-training program to stop teaching officers a neck hold that blocks blood flowing to the brain.

Congressional Democrats are also preparing a sweeping package of police reforms, which is expected to include changes to immunity provisions and creating a database of use-of-force incidents.

Revamped training requirements are planned, too, among them a ban on potentially fatal chokeholds.

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Railway stock

Three killed as passenger train is derailed in US state

Abortion Arizona Protests

US state courts wrestle with abortion laws following Supreme Court ruling

State media showed footage of the leak

Toxic gas leak leaves more than a dozen dead and 251 injured in Jordan

Kate Forbes

Forbes presses UK Government for action over ‘astronomical’ energy price rises

Russia Griner

US basketball star Brittney Griner appears in Russian court

Ukraine Russia War

Scores feared dead after Russian missile hits Ukrainian shopping centre

Germany G7 Summit

Zelensky tells G7 leaders that Ukraine forces face crucial moment

Russia Ukraine War

Russia ‘pouring fire’ on eastern Ukrainian city as offensive mounts

Emergency services are on the scene

Shopping centre in Ukraine with 1,000 people inside hit in Russian missile strike

Norway Shooting

Suspect in fatal Oslo Pride attack ordered held in pre-trial detention

Poland Russia Ukraine War

War-damaged Russian weapons go on display in Poland

Sean 'Diddy' Combs

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs receives lifetime honour at BET Awards

Putin will be dead within two years, it has been claimed.

Putin suffering 'grave' illnesses and will be dead in two years, Ukraine spy chief claims

South Africa Nightclub Deaths

Mystery remains over deaths of 21 teenagers at South African nightclub

Boris Johnson compared the resistance to the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the fight against Nazi Germany

PM compares resistance to Russian invasion of Ukraine to fight against Nazi Germany


G7 leaders confer with Zelensky as they prepare new aid for Ukraine