PHOTOS: As Third Day Of Denver Protests Draws Thousands, Mayor Enacts Curfew
Protesters marched through the streets of downtown Denver on Saturday, demanding justice for George Floyd, the black man who died in custody after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck. It was the third — and largest — day of demonstrations the city has seen amid a broader, national uproar over police brutality.
The demonstration began around noon outside the state capitol building. Protesters wore masks and waved signs. Many encouraged honking from cars passing by.
Nearby, staff of downtown buildings boarded up windows in anticipation of more destruction throughout the weekend. On previous nights, people traveling in groups had thrown rocks through windows of public buildings, including the Denver Public Library
Graffiti was everywhere, including scrawled on columns of the Colorado Supreme Court.
Attendees set up bottled water stations and handed out free masks.
Protesters chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot!” as cars drove by.
Shortly after demonstrations started, Mayor Michael Hancock held a press conference several blocks away outside the Denver Civic Center. Standing in front of several broken windows, he labeled some protesters’ behavior “reckless.”
In response, he announced a citywide curfew beginning Saturday at 8 p.m. through 5 a.m. Sunday morning. The same curfew will take place again Sunday night into Monday morning.
“We hoped we would not have had to take these steps,” Hancock said. “But the aggressive and dangerous actions taken by some individuals under the cover of darkness has made it necessary.”
Back at the state capitol building, protestors laid on the ground for nine minutes while chanting “I can’t breathe.” The action was meant to represent the same period of time George Floyd was pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on his neck. He later died.
As the crowd marched down the 16th Street Mall, businesses boarded up their windows in anticipation of another destructive night ahead.
Later in the afternoon, police began to fire tear gas canisters and non-lethal pepper bullets into the crowd, according to Denver media reports. As the 8 p.m. curfew went into effect, law enforcement fired tear gas into the crowd, dispersing groups of protesters away from the Captiol building and throughout downtown.