Since the video surfaced of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man suffocated by a police officer, Derek Chauvin, who knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 48 seconds, outrage has broken out across the United States, and even in other parts of the world such as Germany, the UK, Italy, New Zealand, and Canada.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, the first day of protests started Saturday, May 30, at 5 pm at the Wake County Courthouse and continued through the evening. As the evening continued, the peaceful protests ended, and the violence began at around 6:30 pm when police started firing tear gas and pepper spray near South McDowell and West Davies street, in an attempt to disperse crowds of demonstrators. Some individuals resorted to rioting and looting, and officers continued to use tear gas and began using smoke bombs, and rubber bullets against protestors. Due to the violence that ensued during the protests over the weekend, the city enacted a curfew at 8 pm on Monday, June 1.
Raleigh’s fourth day of peaceful protests began on Tuesday, June 2, at the North Carolina State Capitol, with an 8 pm curfew still in place. After speakers and organizers spoke at the State Capitol expressing their anger and desire for change, demonstrators marched across downtown Raleigh to the North Carolina Republican Party building on Hillsborough Street.
Organizers and protesters continued to speak out against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement at the Republican Party building, in an effort to make a statement to Republican Lawmakers. One protestor explained, “I understand that we are out here for George Floyd; however, this goes a lot deeper than George Floyd.”
Furthermore, she and other speakers explained the importance of voting, and the same protester expressed, “getting out here and marching is all just fine, however, if we do not understand that our voices get our vote, we will not get anywhere.” Moreover, another protester explained, “we are here because we can be here, we can go out to protest, and that’s why I am here…so I can be one of those voices trying to make a difference…we have to make sure that we do make that difference.”
After individuals spoke to the crowd at the Republican Party building, demonstrators began to write a list of demands for the Republican Lawmakers of Raleigh and left their list of demands under the doormat of the building. Demonstrators then began marching towards the Raleigh Municipal building at 7 pm on W Hargett Street to demand justice and a cut in budget funding for Police Officers, as the City Council was in the midst of a budget meeting.
Although the curfew was still in effect for 8 pm, on Tuesday night, protesters stayed and continued to march past the 8 pm curfew. The Raleigh Police Department characterized the protest as overall peaceful, and therefore, made no arrests even though protestors continued to march downtown at 9:45 pm.