Peaceful protest led in Wilmington last Friday
Protesters gathered in Wilmington at Tubman-Garrett Park on Friday, June 5 to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement and protest police brutality.
The protest was scheduled for 6 p.m. Police had several streets blocked off several hours in advance, including 11th Street and Delaware Avenue at Washington Street, limiting access to much of the city’s downtown area. The original group at the park started off small but grew quickly, as they started to march through the streets towards the Leonard L. Williams Justice Center, the city courthouse.
Several groups were seen standing on street corners handing out free water bottles and granola bars for protesters. Others walked with protesters in the streets and through the crowd at the courthouse, offering water bottles and hand sanitizer.
At approximately 6:20 p.m., rain started to pour along with the sound of thunder, but crowds were undeterred, cheering instead. Few had umbrellas and raincoats; most stood unprotected.
Speakers led chants like, “No justice, no peace,” while sharing stories about family members who have been murdered by police and also shared their support for black businesses. Speakers also led more chants from the crowd, yelling, “Don’t shoot!”
The rain continued to stop and start periodically, and the crowd finally dispersed around 7:30 p.m.
Several people returned to their cars to leave, but others continued to march to the Wilmington Riverfront with a group eventually making its way to I-95, according to Jeanne Kuang from DelawareOnline on Twitter.
It was the second time in a week that protesters have temporarily halted traffic on I-95. A group made its way to the highway on May 30, closing the road.
The police presence was heavy, with at least three officers standing at the entrance of every side street prohibiting access to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Armed military vehicles were also seen in some areas. Protesters, however, remained peaceful, and police did not intervene.