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Demonstrators vow to sustain momentum until change happens

  • Protesters lay in the middle of the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Second Avenue in Memphis Thursday, June 4, 2020 for the protests over the death of George Floyd. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian via AP)

  • Protesters march Thursday, June 4, 2020, in San Diego. Protests continue to be held in U.S. cities, sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Demonstrators protest, Thursday, June 4, 2020, near the White House in Washington, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

  • The pedestal where the statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes stands empty, early Friday, June 5, 2020 in Mobile, Ala. The city of Mobile removed the Confederate statue early Friday, without making any public announcements. (WMPI-TV via AP)

  • APD officer Alexandra Parker holds her hand up with a fellow officer as they kneel together with protesters at the Austin Police Department HQ during a Black Lives Matter rally in Austin on Thursday, June 4, 2020. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

  • Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard, center, joins other demonstrators in Portland, Ore., during a protest against police brutality and racism, sparked by the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after being restrained by police in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

  • Protesters march on the Brooklyn Bridge after a rally in Cadman Plaza Park, Thursday, June 4, 2020, in New York. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Members of the Austin police department march with members of the University of Texas football team to the State Capitol in Austin, Thursday, June 4, 2020, to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Protesters raise their arms as they chant, Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Brentwood, Mo. A large group of protesters gathered to speak out against the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Demonstrators face members of the Austin Police Department as they gather in downtown Austin, Texas, Thursday, June 4, 2020, to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Demonstrators get down on their knees as they take moment of silence for George Floyd during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Buffalo Grove park District's Spray 'N Play in Buffalo Grove, Ill., Thursday, June 4, 2020. Floyd, a black man, died after he was restrained by Minneapolis police on May 25. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • A healthcare professional riding a bus, left, greets protesters as they break curfew and march along 34th Street, Thursday, June 4, 2020, in the Manhattan borough of New York. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., speaks during a Black Lives Matter protest in Buffalo Grove, Ill., Thursday, June 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Protesters march during a solidarity rally for George Floyd, Thursday, June 4, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Demonstrators protest Thursday, June 4, 2020, near the White House in Washington, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Demonstrators protest Friday, June 5, 2020, near the White House in Washington, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Published: 6/5/2020 9:40:37 PM
Modified: 6/5/2020 9:40:25 PM

Protesters stirred by the death of George Floyd vowed Friday to turn an extraordinary outpouring of grief into a sustained movement as demonstrations shifted to a calmer, but no less determined, focus on addressing racial injustice.

By early afternoon, demonstrations resumed for an 11th day around the country with continued momentum as the mood of the protests largely shifted from explosive anger to more peaceful calls for change. Formal and impromptu memorials to Floyd stretched from Minneapolis to North Carolina, where family were gathering Saturday to mourn him, and beyond. Services were planned in Texas for the following week.

Josiah Roebuck, a Kennesaw State University student and organizer of a demonstration that drew about 100 people Friday in an Atlanta suburb, said he was confident that momentum will be maintained.

“Once you start, you’re going to see this every day,” said Roebuck, who said he attended multiple other Atlanta-area protests. He added: “I just want minorities to be represented properly.”

Organizers have used various organizing tools including social media, which Roebuck said he used to gather people for the demonstration outside a Kennesaw store selling Confederate memorabilia. “Social media is a big influencer today,” he said.

Protests around the country had initially been marred by the setting of fires and smashing of windows, but Friday marked at least the third day of more subdued demonstrations, including a heartfelt tribute to Floyd Thursday in Minneapolis that drew family members, celebrities, politicians and civil rights advocates. At the service, strong calls were made for meaningful changes in policing and the criminal justice system.

And in a sign the protesters’ voices were being heard, more symbols of slavery and the Confederacy came down. Alabama’s port city of Mobile removed a statue of a Confederate naval officer early Friday after days of protests there, while Fredericksburg, Virginia, removed a 176-year-old slave auction block from downtown after several years of efforts by the NAACP. Other Confederate symbols have come down around the South in recent days as calls to remove them intensified during protests over Floyd’s death.

Also Friday, in Jacksonville , Florida, a large group of players, coaches, front office officials from the city’s NFL team and their families wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts as they walked from TIAA Bank Field to the sheriff’s office headquarters to raise awareness of racial injustice.

At demonstrations around the country, protesters said the quieter mood was the result of several factors: the new and upgraded criminal charges against the police officers involved in Floyd’s death; a more conciliatory approach by police who have marched with them or taken a knee to recognize their message; and the realization that the burst of rage is not sustainable.

“Personally, I think you can’t riot everyday for almost a week,” said Costa Smith, 26, who was protesting in downtown Atlanta.

Despite the shift in tone, protesters have shown no sign that they are going away and, if anything, are emboldened to stay on the streets to push for police reforms.

In New York City, Miguel Fernandes said there were “a lot more nights to go” of marching because protesters hadn’t got what they wanted. And Floyd’s brother Terrence appeared in Brooklyn to carry on the fight for change, declaring “power to the people, all of us.”




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