Big D.C. Demonstration Expected

AP News
June 06, 2020 - 2:17 am
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser walks on the street leading to the White House after the words Black Lives Matter were painted in enormous bright yellow letters on the street by city workers and activists Friday, June 5, 2020, in Washington.

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

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By The Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON -- Authorities in the nation’s capital are expecting Saturday to be the largest demonstration against police brutality in the city since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Washington has featured daily protests for the past week and they have largely been peaceful, with people marching back and forth from the White House to the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial.

Those numbers are expected to swell. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters Friday that local officials were projecting between 100,000 and 200,000 protesters.

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham wouldn’t commit to a number but predicted it would be smaller than the 1 million people who attended the Women’s March in 2017.

It comes as authorities have sought to reduce tensions by having National Guard troops not carry weapons.

There were zero arrests during demonstrations on Thursday and Friday and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser canceled the curfew that had been in place since Monday. She said she will decide on Saturday morning if it will be reinstated.

A number of D.C. churches and theaters have said they will open their lobbies so people can cool off.

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Rev. Al Sharpton said the Washington rally he announced this week was being planned for Aug. 28, the anniversary of the day MLK gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.

He said the August event would be a way of maintaining momentum as the legal process against the men charged in Floyd’s death is underway.

“It’s going to be months, if not a year before you even go to trial. So you can’t let this peter out ... otherwise you’ll end up in a year and people will go on to another story, and you will not have the public notice and pressure that you need.”

And from August, he said, “It gives you a push into November, not in a partisan way, in a protecting the vote, because we’ve got to educate people on mail-in voting. We’ve got to educate people in terms of turnout."

He said, “One of the things King’s dream was about was voting rights and gives us like 90 days before the election and a great emphasis on that, which you’re going to, in order to change laws, you’ve got to impact lawmakers and they get elected in November. ... Otherwise it’s for nothing.”