BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - From the Target parking lot on Siegen Lane all the way down Airline HIghway, a diverse and peaceful crowd spoke as one Monday afternoon (June 1), calling for an end to police brutality and the killing of unarmed black men.
“Until the police officers learn how to hold crooked cops accountable, we are going to keep protesting and keep applying pressure," said Nasir Supreme.
With law enforcement close by to ensure the group was safe, people who gathered tell WAFB the event felt different from 2016 in just about every way.
“It wasn’t any confrontation. Nobody was damaging any property and the youth can have their voices heard,” said Rep. C. Denise Marcelle.
With violence and destruction of property the focus across the nation as riots break out in major cities, the Baton Rouge protest, like all of them so far in Louisiana, remained non-violent. Governor John Bel Edwards calls it remarkable.
“Here in Louisiana, we’ve had a number of protests and demonstrations. They’ve been almost entirely peaceful and non-violent. Our citizens are appropriately expressing their concerns and exercising their first amendment rights,” the governor added.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked one protester if it was great to have so many people from different backgrounds participate together.
“Man, it’s real great. To be honest man, it’s only one race in this world and that’s the human race,” said Supreme.
“Seeing the videos posted online... it’s infuriating,” said Taylor Gunter. “It makes me so mad that I feel the only way to get anything done is to be out here and support my brothers and sisters and use my privilege to stand up for them.”
Some of the young people who gathered participated in demonstrations in 2016 as well, but others tell WAFB this was their first time joining the movement. Those new advocates say they’re convinced by that awful video of George Floyd’s death and their attitude toward injustice is now cemented.
“If you’re not seeing this and if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention, and if you’re not paying attention, look deep inside yourself and question why,” said Gunter.
“You know with us all coming together man, it’s a beautiful thing and that’s what God would want,” Supreme added.
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