WATCH: Protesters argue with Iowa City leaders over pace of change

Published: Jun. 7, 2020 at 12:00 AM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - A planned rally Saturday before a march in Iowa City ended with tense exchanges between organizers and civic leaders over the pace of change.

The rally on the Pentacrest preceded a planned march calling for changes to promote in racial equality following the death of George Floyd. Leading up to the rally, and at the rally itself, Iowa City leaders urged protesters to end nights of vandalism and efforts to block Interstate 80 as they had the previous two nights, arguing it distracted from that message.

During the rally, protesters demanded immediate changes from the city and county elected officials, presenting them with a list of demands. Those leaders, including Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague and Johnson County Supervisor Royceann Porter, tried to explain that changes as sweeping as these don’t happen that quickly.

"You’re not going to get action overnight. We’ve already made commitments. I’ve been meeting with ya’ll,” Porter told organizers, becoming visibly frustrated.

But organizers did not like that response.

“We have the right to be out here. We have the right to fight for basic humanitarian rights and we deserve it right now, no waiting, done waiting,” an organizer shouted into the microphone before abruptly ending the speeches to start a march.

The march that followed moved towards Highway 218 with police setting up a barricade to prevent access to the highway. Along the route, protesters spraypainted obscenities and messages along the way, including at Kinnick Stadium.

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