Thousands to protest police brutality in US Capital on anniversary of MLK 'Dream' speech

ANIUpdated: Friday, August 28, 2020, 09:53 PM IST
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Many thousands are expected in the streets of the US capital, Washington, DC, on Friday to protest against racially motivated police brutality, reinforcing the message ahead of the presidential election and positioning the Black Lives Matter movement as the latest iteration of a centuries-long fight for the emancipation of communities of colour.

The rally is timed to the 57th anniversary of the anti-segregation March on Washington and will be held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963.

It also comes three months since George Floyd's death under the knee of a police officer sparked a nationwide civil rights campaign and a day after President Donald Trump accepted the re-nomination, starting a countdown to November 3.

"Instigated from the protest movement that has risen up since the police killing of George Floyd, the 'Get Off Our Necks' Commitment March on Washington will be a day of action that will demonstrate our commitment to fighting for policing and criminal justice," the National Action Network, a civil rights advocacy organizing the event, said in a statement.

The program starts at 11.00 a.m. EST (3:00 p.m. GMT) with speeches at the Lincoln Memorial. At 1:00 pm protesters will march to the Martin Luther King memorial to finish up the event by 3:00 pm.

The initial permit estimated a turnout of 100,000 people, but organizers have now lower numbers and urge protesters from the localities with the highest COVID-19 rates to hold "satellite" rallies instead of travelling to Washington, DC, which mandates a 14-day quarantine for some visitors.

The march will be led by those who "know the pain" with relatives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and other Afro-Americans killed by law enforcement officers expected to address the audience.

The Black Lives Matter movement has become a major issue in the 2020 US Presidential campaign with the Democratic opposition seen as more sympathetic to protesters' demands while their Republican rivals, including Trump, prefer to focus on the need to counter an upsurge of violence which often tarnishes the movement.

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