10,000 expected at Denver protests for George Floyd on Saturday
After two days of protests in the name of George Floyd descended into violent clashes with police, as many as 10,000 people are expected to return to downtown Denver on Saturday to march against police brutality.
Protests began peacefully around noon Friday, with hundreds of people engaging in call-and-response chants as they marched with signs near Colorado’s state Capitol. As the march began, news trickled out that the officer who was shown on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck had been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
But as the sun went down, civil-rights era chants devolved into skirmishes, with windows smashed at Colorado’s Supreme Court building and the public library. Officers responded by firing gas, detonating flash grenades and shooting non-lethal pepper balls at the crowds, which did not dissipate until after midnight.
Tay Anderson, a Denver school board member who served as emcee for much of the Friday’s protest during the day, pleaded for people to march peacefully Saturday.
“Today, I need people to be safe,” he tweeted. “If you’re coming to agitate, please do not put others in harm’s way with your actions. The last two days we’ve had innocent people gassed and shot at. Yesterday Black folks in Denver explicitly asked NOT TO AGITATE, because it would be us that would get the blame.”
Anderson on Friday night expressed disgust with those who claimed to be allies but “insisted on throwing rocks, bottles, etc. at police.”
Denver police spokesman Kurt Barnes on Saturday had a brief message for those attending: “We’re asking for everyone to be peaceful.”
— Tay Anderson (@TayAndersonCO) May 30, 2020
Denver’s protests mirror others around the country, which have brought out thousands of people to rally against Floyd’s death in the midst of a global pandemic. Minnesota’s governor brought up the full National Guard on Saturday to help bring order to Minneapolis, which has been site of widespread looting and arson, including burning down a police precinct.
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