Refusing to be cowed by militaristic intimidation tactics, mass arrests, draconian curfews, and violence endorsed and directly ordered by the Trump administration, tens of thousands of people demanding justice for the police killing of George Floyd—and so many others—took to the streets across the U.S. once more Wednesday in a powerful signal that the nationwide uprising is only growing in the face of repression.
A video of thousands of demonstrators lying on their backs in the nation’s capital near Freedom Plaza—just two days after law enforcement viciously attacked peaceful protesters gathered at the White House—led Washington Post reporter Marissa Lang to remark that “the crowd keeps getting bigger,” even as President Donald Trump ramps up the street presence of the military, the FBI, ICE, and Border Patrol.
“There are more people at this die-in right now than there were in front of the White House yesterday,” Kang tweeted. “And more yesterday than the day before.”
What was true in D.C. was true in major cities and small towns across the nation on the ninth consecutive day of mass demonstrations, which kicked off last week near the sight of Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis and spread quickly across the nation and around the world.
“A bunch of these protests are bigger on a Wednesday than they were on Saturday,” observed socialist Virginia Delegate Lee Carter. “They’ll be bigger still this weekend. This isn’t going away.”
In Oakland, California, thousands of demonstrators chanting “Our streets!” defied the mayor’s 8 pm curfew and rallied at City Hall Wednesday night demanding an end to police brutality and racial injustice. Thousands also gathered in Los Angeles; San Francisco; Portland, Oregon; Brooklyn, New York; Seattle, Washington; Detroit, Michigan; and New Orleans, Louisiana.
“We all need to stand up for each other, we can’t be silenced,” Oakland resident Ava Kravitz told NBC. “It’s our right to be here to speak so we have to do that, we have to be here.”
Amissa Miller, another Oakland resident who attended the demonstration Wednesday, told the New York Times that “the curfew is meant to silence our voices and keep us off the streets.”
“Essential workers are exempt from the curfew,” said Miller, “and what we are doing here is essential.”
In New York City, demonstrators sitting peacefully in the street with their hands up were assaulted and arrested by police for violating curfew.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that the charge against Derek Chauvin—the now-former Minneapolis police officer who drove his knee into Floyd’s neck while ignoring the man’s repeated pleas for his life—has been upgraded to second-degree murder. Ellison also announced that the other three officers who were on the scene during Floyd’s arrest have been charged with aiding and abetting murder.
“To the Floyd family, to our beloved community, and everyone that is watching, I say: George Floyd mattered,” Ellison said during a press conference unveiling the new charges. “He was loved. His life was important. His life had value. We will seek justice for him and for you and we will find it.”
In a tweet Wednesday night, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) echoed the common sentiment that the charges are a direct result of the nationwide protests and urged people to keep up the pressure.
“To those rising up, speaking out, organizing together: this would not have happened without you,” said Jayapal. “Keep marching, keep protesting, keep demanding accountability, and keep fighting for justice. Don’t stop building the pressure necessary to secure change.”