Marchers progress through Iowa City after George Floyd death

Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 6:50 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - A large protest has developed in Iowa City for another evening of demonstrations following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

At least hundreds of participants were seen gathered on the Pentacrest around 6:00 p.m., then they started marching southward on Clinton Street a short time later. Many were carrying signs, and were heard chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “George Floyd.”

Marchers stopped at the Johnson County Courthouse and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Jail. Law enforcement, some wearing riot helmets, were present at both locations. Barricades were placed near the courthouse on Wednesday ahead of the protest’s development.

Later, marchers arrived at the corner of U.S. Highway 6, Iowa Highway 1, and Riverside Drive, blocking traffic for an extended period of time. The crowd chanted “Black Lives Matter." The crowd split on multiple occasions to allow ambulances to pass by.

The march then went east on Highway 6, crossing the Iowa River. Demonstrators stood in the intersection of Gilbert Street and Highway 6, blocking traffic again. One driver got out of his vehicle to express frustration with the protest, resulting in a brief non-physical confrontation between a few demonstrators and him.

Some of the members of the crowd have spraypainted some buildings, signs, and sidewalks along the marchers’ route.

Demonstrators walked back up Gilbert Street toward downtown, passing City Hall and the Iowa City Police Department along the way. Police wearing riot gear stood behind metal barricades placed in front of the city’s administration building but did not engage the passing crowd.

Marchers continued up Dubuque Street, away from downtown, and stopped at the intersection with Park Road, blocking traffic. Small fireworks were lit off at that location.

The group continued north on Dubuque Street toward its interchange with Interstate 80. Organizers told everyone to take a knee in the road along the way.

Marchers and law enforcement got into a confrontation along Dubuque Street in Iowa City near its interchange with Interstate 80.

Marchers had been progressing through various parts of the city since 6:00 p.m., with hundreds of people demonstrating after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In spite of at least several people vandalizing buildings, sidewalks, and signs along the way, the march was predominantly peaceful.

Demonstrators approached the interchange at around 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday night. Law enforcement were lined up across Dubuque Street, and protesters also formed into a line and approached the officers while chanting “don’t shoot!” Officers gave directions to the demonstrators but they did not disperse

Law enforcement responded with flashbangs and what appeared to be tear gas.

Demonstrators scattered but reformed a line across Dubuque Street.

The Iowa Department of Transportation closed Interstate 80 in the Iowa City area as protesters approached the interchange.

KCRG-TV9′s Mary Green described it as the largest group of protesters she has covered in eastern Iowa since unrest began following Floyd’s death.

Protests in the downtown area on Tuesday night continued late into the night. They were largely peaceful, but some of the participants spraypainted graffiti on downtown buildings and sidewalks.

Video showing Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, ignoring Floyd’s pleas until he eventually stopped moving, has sparked nationwide protests. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, and three other officers who were there have been charged as an accessory to the crime.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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