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After two nights of violent demonstrations, Richmond protest march was peaceful

(WDBJ)
Published: May. 31, 2020 at 8:55 PM EDT
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Organizers of a protest march and vigil in Richmond Sunday, the day after

, wanted to make a bold statement, but they wanted to make a statement marked by determination, not destruction.

Q Holmes was one of the organizers.

"This is a great city full of great people. We want to show people the right way to get things done," Holmes told WDBJ7. "We don't want to burn anything. We don't want to hurt local businesses. We don't want to give the police any reason to engage with us. We want to show people we can get this done, and peaceful."

Their call to action struck a chord with a diverse crowd of more than 1,000 people marching through a wide section of downtown Richmond.

One of them was Alan Watkins.

"I don't condone burning down stores and looting and all that stuff," he said, "but you've got people that's angrier than angrier."

"We aren't going to do anything to anybody," he said, "but we don't want it done to us. We're sick of it and it needs to stop."

The closest they came to confrontation was the moment the crowd reached the main entrance to

.

But there was no attempt to breach the fence that blocked the road.

At one point, protesters dropped to one knee and called on the Capitol Police to join them.

"We understand the passion. We understand the fear. People have a lot of sadness right now, said protester David Newman. "We understand that, but the people need to know that the change is only going to come by peace, and working with our community, working together, voting."

The march ended at the 17th Street Farmers Market in Shockoe Bottom, a part of the city that was once a center of the slave trade.

Speakers lined up to share their message with a megaphone, and continue their call for equal justice and an end to racism.

"At the end of the day, people are not being heard," said Psy Williams. "You know we want to keep this as peaceful as possible, because we want to get our message across. And we want it to stick. We want it to stick."

Copyright 2020 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.

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