DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Around 1,500 protesters gathered outside a Confederate monument in Decatur, Georgia, Wednesday as demonstrations continued throughout the state against racism, police brutality and the killing of George Floyd.
The march started Wednesday afternoon in Decatur Square, home to a Confederate monument built in 1908 and a “contextualized” marker explaining the racist history of the monument and the Civil War.
The marker reads, “This monument and similar ones … were created to intimidate African Americans and limit their full participation in the social and political life of their communities.”
The protesters in the square echoed that sentiment.
“Enough is enough,” Georgia State University student Chalèah Head said. “I’m the mother of a young black man. How do I tell him he has to put his hand on the steering wheel when a cop comes by because he doesn’t know whether they are going to shoot him or not?”
Head called for the Decatur rally on social media, stating she knew residents in her hometown would remain peaceful, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The crowd moved through the streets of Decatur, marching through town and stopping traffic at intersections as police and sheriff’s deputies looked on.
They read the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African Americans who they say have recently been killed unjustly by police.
Protests in neighboring Atlanta, meanwhile, continued for the sixth consecutive day.
Organizers said they would sit down in the intersection of Marietta Street and Centennial Olympic Park Drive at 8:50 p.m and demand an audience with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Bottoms earlier announced that curfews would start at 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and then at 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All of the curfews end at sunrise. Nearly everyone in the crowd downtown dispersed ahead of Wednesday’s curfew, and police and National Guard troops did not advance in a phalanx the way they did the night before.
“They say they’re extending curfew because we’re throwing bottles. Tonight, we’re not throwing no bottles. We’re just sitting peacefully and asking the mayor to come talk to us,” Jay Jarns told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The city experienced widespread vandalism and looting after a peaceful demonstration on Friday. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp authorized up to 3,000 National Guard troops to be deployed to cities across the state, and sent state police to reinforce law enforcement in Atlanta.