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Protesters Step Off From Bloomfield's Friendship Park, March Through East End As Some West Penn Hospital Workers Show Support

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Protesters began gathering in Friendship Park in Bloomfield Friday for a demonstration the the city's East End over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The crowd of several hundred people began gathering around noon, with the march kicking off at 12:30 p.m.

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson)
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson)

"We will not be doing anything to put our families at risk. Our message is to have a non-violent rebellion," said one of the protest organizers.

As the protesters gathered, some doctors, staff and other health care workers came out of nearby West Penn Hospital in a show of support. They had signs and joined the national movement to kneel for eight minutes and 46 seconds in solidarity.

On the move, the protesters began heading down Liberty Avenue first, chanting "Black Lives Matter."

As the crowd moved down Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh Police blocked off several streets around the area for safety. Rolling closures were put in place as the march made its way around the city.

Protest organizers brought in safety workers to flank the crowd. They are wearing safety vests and have medical supplies. Organizers told the crowd before the march started "there would be help on all sides, just look for a safety vest if needed."

The crowd stopped to chant at the intersection of Liberty Avenue and Baum Boulevard, then made the turn towards Fifth Avenue into Shadyside as they got started again.

In Shadyside, the crowd marched down busy Walnut Street, going against the flow of traffic. They staged a sit-in in the middle of the business district.

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson)
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson)

The crowd sat for eight minutes 46 seconds, the time Floyd was held down in the video.

"Another reason for coming out here is just feeling so helpless," protester Kimberly Hoover said. "It feels so cathartic to just scream in the air, because who are you suppose to scream at when you have no power to, like, actually make the changes."

Hoover tells KDKA the group walked through some of the city's nicest neighborhoods and business districts. She says it was empowering to see the business owners and customers step outside to chant along with them as they passed.

As the crowd started marching again, they headed toward East Liberty. Police blocked off Fifth Avenue as the crowd began slowing in speed and chanting.

The protesters then splintered, but a large majority headed onto Beechwood Boulevard in Point Breeze, stopping a few times to discuss the change the organizers say is needed in Pittsburgh. They congregated on Lyndhurst Green for food and water due to the humid day.

The crowd took a break, sitting in the park, holding signs.

They laid a memorial to Breonna Taylor in the park, on what would have been her birthday. The emergency medical worker was shot and killed by police inside her home earlier this year.

The protesters then headed into Point Breeze where they chanted and sat down along Hastings Street.

They also laid out some demands to the city. They say no more curfew, no more arrests and school funding. There were 10 demands in total.

After marching about four miles, and several sit-ins, the protest finally started dispersing around 3 p.m.

The entire march remained peaceful.

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Ian Smith from NewsChopper 2)
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Ian Smith from NewsChopper 2)

Protests have been happening all week across the city and Southwestern Pennsylvania in support of George Floyd and his family, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

One of three memorial services was held for Floyd on Thursday in Minneapolis. The officers involved in his death have all been charged.

Stay with KDKA for all the latest on this developing story.


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