By Nandita Bose, Lucas Jackson |
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Thousands of protesters were marching in Washington on Saturday as rallies across the United States to protest the killing of a black man in Minneapolis police custody entered a 12th day and officials moved to rein in law enforcement tactics.
George Floyd, 46, died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The killing has triggered protests against racism and police brutality in cities and smaller communities nationwide, as well as demonstrations by supporters around the world.
On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Delonno Carroll, a 27-year-old construction worker, said he had come out to demonstrate because he “simply cannot” sit and watch from home.
“Our voices need to be heard,” Carroll said. “No longer can we have a man call out for his mom on the streets and have to go through what George Floyd did.”
Six buses unloaded several hundred uniformed military personnel, most wearing body armor and carrying shields, at the White House grounds early on Saturday, a Reuters photographer said. Military Humvees were parked on tree-lined city streets.
Police — who drew criticism for firing smoke grenades and chemical irritant “pepper balls” before charging into peaceful protesters near the White House on Tuesday — were out in smaller numbers around the marchers on Saturday afternoon and generally in a more relaxed posture, wearing patrol uniforms rather than body armor and helmets.
Various groups of protesters gathered around the city before converging near the White House.
Some passing motorists honked their horns in support, and some city residents came out on the street to hand out water and snacks to offer protesters relief from the sweltering heat.