- Demonstrators made their way to downtown D.C. Sunday for 10th day of protests.
- President Donald Trump said in a tweet he’s ordering the National Guard to start withdrawing from D.C.
- Demonstrations are expected to continue into another week.
Demonstrators gathered for more protests Sunday throughout the D.C. region after huge crowds filled D.C. streets Saturday, with demonstrations expected to continue another week.
Protesters marched and chanted. “Black lives matter.” “What is his name? George Floyd. Say her name. Breonna Taylor.” “No justice, no peace. No racist police.”
WTOP’s Alejandro Alvarez reported from demonstrations near the White House that the number of people out Sunday did not appear to be waning.
But, “The mood at Lafayette (Park) is considerably more quiet than yesterday. It is a bit more reflective,” Alvarez said.
“Many of the same places you now see the food trucks parked, and the ice cream trucks, people sitting down, having a bite to eat, or having drum circles, or chatting with friends in this area were the same places where, only days ago, there was tear gas, or burning SUVs, or vandalism against storefronts,” he noted.
“The turn in atmosphere here from violence to more of a celebration of black life in America has been almost shocking. It’s happened almost overnight.”
Ten days since DC first saw protests in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, the area near the White House is still bustling with people demanding action against police brutality.
Hundreds held a die-in near Lafayette Park this afternoon after marching from Dupont Circle. pic.twitter.com/9aMMcBlFMh
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) June 7, 2020
As a group of protesters made their way through Chinatown, cars at one intersection stopped for the crowd. Drivers of the vehicles rolled down their windows, put their fists in the air and chanted along: “I can’t breathe. Off my neck.”
Saturday’s demonstrations were D.C.’s largest since the May 25 killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, but the protests remained peaceful.
Thousands turned out for Saturday’s protests, though a specific number was not immediately available. “MPD does not provide crowd estimates,” D.C. police said.
Massive crowds also gathered to protest racism in other major U.S. cities and around the world.
Saturday in the District, police told WTOP one arrest was made for property destruction.
“Overall, there were peaceful demonstrations throughout the District of Columbia,” D.C. police spokesperson Kristen Metzger said.
“No arrests were made and no personnel sustained injuries yesterday,” a U.S. Secret Service spokesperson said.
Trump orders National Guard to start withdrawal
After Saturday’s demonstrations in D.C. went off largely without incident, President Donald Trump said in a tweet Sunday morning he’s ordering the National Guard to start withdrawing from the District. Trump said fewer people showed up to demonstrations Saturday than expected, and everything is “under perfect control.”
I have just given an order for our National Guard to start the process of withdrawing from Washington, D.C., now that everything is under perfect control. They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed. Far fewer protesters showed up last night than anticipated!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2020
While Trump downplayed Saturday’s crowds, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week” that it was his response to the unrest that led to the largest crowd in the city since Floyd’s death.
“What he actually did, as you saw for the remaining days, was turn out more people, and more people who were there for peaceful protest,” she said.
Bowser pointed specifically to the use of force against reportedly peaceful protesters Monday at Lafayette Square, saying that was a turning point that drove more people to come out and peacefully demonstrate.
“What Americans saw was federal police forces tear gassing peaceful Americans, and how they responded made clear to the president that Americans would exercise their First Amendment rights and they would do it peacefully,” she said.
Black Lives Matter DC continued its criticism of the mayor, whose actions have been otherwise widely celebrated, tweeting out a statement.
“We stand by our critique of the DC Mayor Muriel Bowser after the unveiling of the Black Lives Matter Mural and the renaming of Black Lives Matter Plaza,” the statement reads in part.
“Mayor Muriel Bowser must be held accountable for the lip service she pays in making such a statement while she continues to intentionally underfund and cut services and programs that meet the basic survival needs of Black people in DC.”
Here is our official statement about @MayorBowser, #BlackLivesMatterPlaza, #DefundPolice and the Black people murdered by @DCPoliceDept she refuses justice for.#DCProtests #DCProtester #dcprotest2020 #DefendBlackLives #DefendBlackLife #StopMPD pic.twitter.com/nlSj2LSf5p
— BlackLivesMatter DC (@DMVBlackLives) June 7, 2020
The statement is also available in document form.
Demonstrations are expected to continue into another week. There are questions about whether the scope of the protests can become something more durable.
Unlike the major D.C. protests of the past, Saturday’s events weren’t strongly organized. And in some cases, there were mini-marches that began in residential neighborhoods before converging on 16th Street.
Many protesters carried signs urging participants to vote with the passion they brought to the streets.
The Rev. Al Sharpton has said he is organizing a March on Washington for late August that would energize voters heading into the fall presidential campaign.
WTOP’s John Domen, Ken Duffy, Dave Dildine, Alejandro Alvarez, Melissa Howell, Valerie Bonk, Thomas Robertson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.