Tens Of Thousands Of Protesters Expected To Descend On Washington, D.C., For Largest BLM Protest Yet

Demonstrators march on Constitution Avenue near the Dirksen Senate Office Building
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Thousands of people have gathered in Washington, D.C., to protest the killing of George Floyd, with thousands more expected in what organizers say is expected to be the largest Black Lives Matter demonstration in the area so far.

As NBC News reports, thousands of people gathered near the White House and other important Washington locations to call for justice for Floyd, who died earlier this month while in police custody in Minneapolis.

“We anticipate the largest demonstrations with regards to numbers that we’ve seen in the city to date,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said. “And we anticipate that the protesters will continue to be as peaceful as they have been over the past couple of days.”

The protests so far today have been largely peaceful, with demonstrators calling for action from President Donald Trump, and decrying his use of military and extreme crowd dispersal tactics to quell unrest in the District of Columbia.

“I’m tired of the racism. Just tired,” said Rochelle Grate, a 58-year-old woman who attended Saturday’s protest. “This is different. It snapped people not of color to say ‘Man, this is real and I’ve been blind to it.'”

Floyd died on May 25 as now-former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd repeatedly told the officer that he couldn’t breathe before becoming unresponsive and being taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was declared dead.

The entire incident was caught on video, prompting outrage and backlash across the country.

After using pepper spray and tear gas to disperse a crowd of reportedly peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square last week, President Trump has repeatedly faced criticism from people who say that he has failed to respond appropriately to the unrest.

On Saturday, many people are expected to show up to continue to protest the violence against black Americans at the hands of the police, along with the Trump administration’s handling of the unrest.

As Fox News reports, Army officials were expecting fewer people than the million who showed up in 2017 for the Women’s March, but they still thought that up to 200,000 people would show up.

Large areas were closed off in the capitol in anticipation of the demonstrations, with streets closed to make room for people, while the White House itself was walled off with 8-foot-tall fencing. Protesters have stood outside the fencing every day this week, though police say they haven’t made an arrest since Tuesday and a curfew hasn’t been enforced since Wednesday, indicating that demonstrators have been peaceful.