“Take your knee out of our neck!” Thousands of protesters converged on central Washington on Saturday to protest racism and police brutality on a day marked by a new ceremony in memory of George Floyd.
Under a blazing sun, the crowd began to mass in the American federal capital, in the streets leading to the White House but also near the Lincoln memorial.
It was in front of this imposing monument that Atlanta pastor Martin Luther King had, on August 28, 1963, in front of nearly 250,000 people, launched ” I have a dream In a speech that has become a reference in the fight for civil rights.
“We are back here with a new message of hope,” said 31-year-old African-American Deniece Laurent-Mantey to AFP.
More than a dozen collectives, many of them spontaneously formed on social media after the death of George Floyd, whose death rekindled the country’s racial wounds, called to invade the streets of the capital.
“I have the impression that we fought, fought, fought and that all of a sudden, it all came to light,” says Patricia Thompson, 55, in reference to all the American companies and organizations that have according to her, she took a public stand “against institutional racism” for the first time after this deadly arrest.
Much of the city center was cordoned off, AFP journalists found.
On the imposing fence erected in front of Donald Trump’s residence were hung the heads of George Floyd, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, African-Americans all dead in the hands of American police in recent years.
From the White House, where he spends the weekend, Donald Trump continued his intense activity on Twitter without mentioning the demonstrations.
North Carolina Ceremony
Opposite, in a very family atmosphere, the demonstrators chant “No Justice, No Peace, No racist Police” and take advantage of the bottles of ice water distributed by numerous associations. , in oppressive heat.
Tens of thousands of people are expected during the day, which is expected to be the largest mobilization since the movement began in the capital 9 days ago.
Protesters also gathered in many American cities, including New York, Philadelphia, or Minneapolis, where George Floyd died and where the riots began.
Driven by massive mobilization on social media, the movement has spread to London, Pretoria, Paris and even Sydney, where at least 20,000 people demonstrated on Saturday.
After a moving first ceremony in Minneapolis on Thursday, a second tribute will be paid to the 46-year-old African American who was suffocated by a white police officer on Saturday during an arrest on May 25 in this northern city. The new ceremony will take place in Raeford, in his native state of North Carolina.
New examples of police violence, especially during the crackdown on these sometimes violent protests, fuel the anger that has fueled the protests that have rocked the United States since the death of George Floyd.
Several videos showing muscular police interventions against peaceful demonstrators have emerged in recent days.
In anticipation of the new protests, the Seattle police chief has announced a 30-day ban on the use of tear gas.
Minneapolis police also announced Friday that they are now banning “choke”, a dangerous technique used in 2014 in New York on Eric Garner, another black man who died at the hands of the police, whose cries of “I can’t not breathe ”were also spoken by George Floyd when he died.
But the marches now go beyond this one case, to denounce systemic racism and demand real change.
They have remained peaceful for the past few days and several cities, including Washington, Seattle and Los Angeles, have now lifted their curfew. But not New York, where he is kept until Sunday evening.