Thousands Join Richmond Marches

AP News
June 13, 2020 - 7:41 pm
The graffiti-smeared statue of Robert E. Lee and Traveller stand behind a traffic sign with Marcus-David Peters Circle on a handwritten sign below on the circle that surrounds the monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

(Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

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By The Associated Press

 

RICHMOND, Va. — Thousands of people gathered in Virginia's capital on Saturday for a demonstration against racism known as the “5,000 Man March.”

The protest in Richmond included a speech by a cousin of George Floyd, the black man whose death at the hands of police has prompted weeks of protests around the world.

The demonstrators gathered at the city’s famed monument of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee before making a loop around the downtown. They returned to the monument about two hours later to hear speakers, including a relative of Floyd, the man who died last month after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes as he pleaded for air.

Tavares Floyd, George Floyd’s cousin, stepped onto the Lee monument and was welcomed by applause from the surrounding crowd of demonstrators in the former capital of the Confederacy.

WRIC-TV reports that Floyd spoke about many different racial inequalities that the black community faces in Virginia and throughout the nation.

The Lee statue, erected in 1890, has become a focal point of protests in Richmond since Floyd’s death. After years of calls by activists to remove Confederate statues in Virginia, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has pledged to take down the Lee statue, while Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, also a Democrat, has vowed to remove other Confederate statues on the same street.