57 years after Martin Luther King Jr. tens of thousands took to the streets on Friday at a new “March on Washington” against racism in the US.
Thousands of people demonstrated in Washington for an end to racism and police violence against black Americans. “Enough is enough,” said the African-American civil rights activist Al Sharpton, one of the organizers of the rally, to those gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in the heart of the US capital on Friday.
“We demand real, permanent, structural change,” said civil rights activist Martin Luther King III at the rally. He is the eldest son of Martin Luther King Jr., who exactly 57 years ago to the day gave his famous speech with the words “I have a dream” in the same place. “We will make this dream come true,” announced Sharpton.
Martin Luther King III called on African Americans to vote in the presidential election on November 3rd, “as if our lives, our livelihoods and our freedoms depend on it – because it is.” As many as possible should also offer their help in carrying out the election “so that every vote is counted”.
“We must vigorously defend our voting rights because they were bought with the blood of those who were lynched for exercising their constitutional rights.” His daughter, 12-year-old Yolanda Renee King, promised: “We will be the generation that will do them Racism ended once and for all. ”
The rally was dedicated to the anniversary of the 1963 “March on Washington” and was dominated by the recent police violence that had caused outrage in the United States. Most notably, that was the death of George Floyd. He died while being arrested after a police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Many attendees wore t-shirts that read “I can’t breathe” and the numbers “8:46” to commemorate Floyd’s death. “Get your knees off our necks!” (Take your knees off our necks) was also the motto of the rally.
Only at the weekend, seven shots in the back of the black Jacob Blake during a police operation in the city of Kenosha (Wisconsin) sparked new protests. “Without justice, there is no peace!” Blake’s father exclaimed at the rally. The crowd repeated the slogan, which goes back to protests in the 1980s. There are two judicial systems in the US – one for whites, one for black, criticized Jacob Blake Senior.
Sharpton referred to Floyd’s death during his performance: “We could be as successful as others. But the company kept its knee on the back of our neck. “That must come to an end now. “I’m tired of asking for justice,” said activist Frank Nitty. “We have been marching with the same demands for 60 years. Black people shouldn’t still take to the streets for the same thing as Martin Luther King. ”
Angelica Watson, 24, from Philadelphia said her father and uncle were there for the 1963 march. “But we are still struggling with the same problems today,” she emphasized. “The most important thing for me is equality – because the rest, every further problem, originates there.
Many participants in the rally wore masks, even if many people were crowded against the recommendations of health experts. Nevertheless, it was a contrast to President Donald Trump’s nomination speech in the garden of the White House the day before, where the around 1,500 invited guests sat close to each other and hardly anyone was seen wearing a mask.
Before the day of the protest, the area around the White House had been secured with high fences and concrete bollards. A few shops nearby covered their windows with wooden panels. After the rally, groups of demonstrators marched through the partially sealed off city center. The situation remained calm.