Anger over what they believe is systemic and deadly racism could be heard in the voices of nearly a thousand protesters who rallied for change at Centre Square and marched through downtown Easton Sunday shouting “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe,” but there was no aggression exhibited toward city police, who were present at the event.
Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, many major U.S. cities have played host to protests, some of which have turned violent as a minority of participants have fought police tactical and other units, looted businesses and even burned buildings.
Sunday’s event appeared to draw more participants than the previous day’s two protests did, however like the other two, demonstrators reflected a diversity of ages and races not always seen locally.
One scene that seemed to captured the dark but defiant mood of the protesters occurred when one individual laid down on Northampton Street and re-enacted the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who was suffocated by a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for nearly eight minutes as he said “I can’t breathe” and begged for help.
As the protester appeared lifeless on the ground, a woman portraying Floyd’s mother symbolically walked over and stood next to him, held up a sign up that said “Mama please, I can’t breathe” and symbolically gave him the voice that was stolen from him.
This terrifying and tragic tableau briefly mesmerized the people who formed a circle around it, before they continued to march down Northampton Street and around the square to Third Street, where the phalanx moved south past Easton City Hall.
Marchers–most of whom held handmade signs–then made a right turn onto Washington Street and finally a right onto Ferry Street before returning to Northampton and marching back to the square; a lap that was repeated several times, although some protesters remained in Centre Square following completion of the first loop.
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✊ Sunday's protest against the murder of George Floyd and other acts of police violence affecting minorities drew a large and diverse crowd--possibly a thousand people or better--to downtown Easton. Demonstrators marched from Centre Square past city hall and then back around again chanting messages like "Enough is enough" and "Black lives matter." More later @ sauconsource.com. . . . . . #BlackLivesMatter #BLM #protest #GeorgeFloyd #sayhisname #march #racism #justice #nojusticenopeace #handsupdontshoot #police #voices #icantbreathe #protesters #eastonpa #pennsylvania #louder #diversity #peace #demonstration #signs #unity #city #america #news #tension #youth #covid #enough #enoughisenough
Most protestors wore face masks in accordance with a Pennsylvania Health Department mandate issued due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Some wrote “I Can’t Breathe” and other messages on them; messages that have become synonymous with the largely grassroots movement to end racism that began in the wake of Floyd’s death.
Social distancing guidelines weren’t strictly followed at any of the three protests, however due to the number of participants involved, it likely would have been difficult in practice for each individual to remain at least six feet apart from all other individuals at all times.