Protesters gather for the second day to oppose racial violence by police

A growing crowd has gathered on the Capitol lawn as a second day of protests over the death of George Floyd kicked off in Denver.

After marching from the Capitol to the 16th Street Mall and back, the protesters returned to Capitol grounds where they blocked traffic on Lincoln Street.

The  demonstrators convened only hours after a Thursday night protest ended. Officials had already cleaned off inscriptions scrawled on the Capitol and streets Friday night, including one on the Capitol doors that read, “George Floyd rest in power.”

Brittany Johnson of Denver said she marched for her children and her brother, who was killed years ago by police in Colorado Springs.

“I have two one year old twins, a boy and a girl, and they’re African American. I can’t imagine being the mother of these black men and women and children who continue to die at the hand of the police.

“We shouldn’t have racist structures, but the police system continues to be a racist structure. … It’s been happening too long. Something’s gotta happen.”

Tay Anderson, a Denver school board member, addressed the gathering crowd with a loudspeaker Friday. Some were off to the side in the shade and Anderson urged them to embrace discomfort and join the rest of the crowd.

At 12:08 p.m., the crowd began marching, and participants shouted “Blacks lives matter!”, among other chants.

Around 12:50 p.m., having marched all the way down to Wazee Street, the crowd pivoted and headed back toward the Capitol. For the walk back,  Anderson encouraged white allies to fall back in the crowd so that black people could march at the front.

They chanted, “Say his name: George Floyd,” as they walked.

Beth Lindroos of Denver came to show solidarity.

“I think it’s important for everybody to be here today. To be silent, to not be here — I think we have to show solidarity,” Lindroos said. “Black lives matter. That phrase doesn’t seem too sunk in to some cops.”

On Thursday night, what began as peaceful protest involving about 200 people turned violent after someone fired shots near the state house. Protesters flooded downtown, vandalizing the Capitol building, smashing windows of businesses and vehicles, throwing rocks at police and trying to block traffic on Interstate 25.

In return, police launched tear gas and fired flash-bang grenades until crowds dispersed around 2 a.m.

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