FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — The organizers of a rally held Thursday in Fall River said it was to protest not only the death of George Floyd, but also the mistreatment and injustice faced by black Americans, and above all else — they wanted it to be peaceful.
“The point of protesting is to be peaceful,” organizer Dasia McCane said. “Protest can lead to riots but that’s not what we are trying to do.”
“Usually, it’s a few people who think throwing a water bottle is funny, people who think kicking a cop car is funny, that’s not what we are doing,” she continued. “We shouldn’t be doing that, we’re hoping this protest leads to change.”
The organizers asked attendees to lay on the ground for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Floyd was pinned to the ground by a former Minneapolis police officer before he died.
“Eight minutes and 46 seconds may seem to some like a short time, but when you are fighting for your life, that is an extremely long amount of time,” McCane added. “I saw people looking at me around six minutes like, ‘is it over? Is it done?’ People need to realize that amount of time is inhumane.”
Some members of the Fall River Police Department joined the protesters, kneeling in solidarity.
Protesters like Donald Rei said the unity and the open ears of local law enforcement are exactly why they’re protesting.
“I’m here to support Black Lives Matter because I think black lives do matter,” Rei said. “It’s my first rally. I just recently retired, so I am here now. I always felt passionate about social issues, so hopefully we will have social justice in this country finally.”
Mayor Paul Coogan and other elected officials were also in attendance.