Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered Saturday across Washington D.C., including near the White House, to march against police brutality and racism in response to the recent death of George Floyd in police custody — part of protests that took place in cities across the U.S.
Black Lives Matter organizers were hoping to draw a million protesters, with groups of demonstrators gathering at the Capitol, the National Mall, and with thousands gathering near the White House. A law enforcement source told Fox News that an estimated 200,000 people came to protest in D.C. throughout the course of the day.
One crowd of about 2,000 people gathered at Malcolm X Park at one point and, after giving speeches and singing, began marching down 16th Street toward the White House, according to Fox News’ Kelly Phares. Protesters gathered in front of newly-installed high fencing that was keeping protestors out of Lafayette Park in front of the White House.
— Matt Brown (@mrbrownsir) June 7, 2020
Authorities have expanded the fenced security perimeter around the White House, which now reaches to the outskirts of a park complex known as the Ellipse, near the National Mall. It comes amid concerns that the mostly peaceful protests seen in recent days could be marred by the rioting and looting seen at the beginning of the week and last weekend.
“We have a lot of public, open-source information to suggest that the event on this upcoming Saturday may be one of the largest that we’ve had in the city,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told reporters Thursday.
Much smaller crowd in D.C. than anticipated. National Guard, Secret Service, and D.C. Police have been doing a fantastic job. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2020
President Trump tweeted that there was a “much smaller crowd in D.C. than anticipated.”
“National Guard, Secret Service, and D.C. Police have been doing a fantastic job. Thank you!” he tweeted.
Protesters also demonstrated in San Francisco and New York City, as well as Philadelphia and Chicago. As of Saturday evening there were few signs of the violence that had marred previous protests in recent days.
— Sharla McBride (@SharlaMcBride) June 6, 2020
It was not clear how many would show up for Saturday’s demonstrations, but #1MillionDCSaturday was trending on Twitter in a call for 1 million people to march on the capital.
Crowds applauded for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser as she walked along the portion of 16th Street that she renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza. Bowser has feuded with President Trump over the city’s handling of the protests, that devolved into riots earlier in the week.
Trump accused her of not doing enough to shut down the violence, while Bowser has pushed back on Trump’s calls for the use of federal law enforcement to quell disturbances.
— Tyler LaRiviere (@TylerLaRiviere) June 6, 2020
At the same time, thousands of mourners showed up Saturday to remember Floyd ahead of a second memorial service, this time in North Carolina near where he was born.
The mourners lined up Saturday morning for a two-hour public viewing of his casket at Cape Fear Conference B in Raeford, about 24 miles from Fayetteville. A private service for family members only begins at 3 p.m. local time but is being broadcast.