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Protesters pour into DC for city’s largest demonstration yet

Protesters are streaming into the US capital for what was expected to be the city’s largest demonstration yet against police brutality, while George Floyd was mourned in his North Carolina hometown, where hundreds of mourners lined up to squeeze into a church to pay their respects.

Military vehicles and officers in fatigues are closing off much of downtown Washington to traffic ahead of the planned march, which authorities estimated would attract up to 200,000 people outraged by Floyd’s death 12 days ago at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

In Raeford, the small town near Fayetteville where Floyd was born 46 years ago, a long line of people formed outside a church, waiting to enter in small groups for a chance to look at his coffin. A private memorial service was scheduled for later in the day.

The line of people waiting to view the coffin included families with young children and teenagers. One young woman wore a green and gold graduation cap and gown as she walked beside her parents. Most people wore surgical masks or cloth face coverings.

When a hearse bearing Floyd’s coffin arrived, chants of “Black Power,” “George Floyd” and “No justice, no peace,” echoed from beneath the covered entrance.

“It could have been me. It could have been my brother, my father, any of my friends who are black,” says a man in the crowd, Erik Carlos of Fayetteville. “It was a heavy hit, especially knowing that George Floyd was born near my hometown. It made me feel very vulnerable at first.”

Washington has seen daily protests for the past week — largely peaceful, with people marching back and forth from the White House to the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said local officials expected 100,000 to 200,000 protesters for Saturday’s event. The White House has been fortified with new fencing and extra security precautions.

US President Donald Trump had no public events on his daily schedule. But about 100 protesters gathered at his golf resort in Doral, Florida, just outside Miami. The protest was organized by Latinos for Black Lives Matter.

— AP

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