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Saturday, June 6, 2020

Thousands take to the streets of Providence in youth-led Protect Black Lives protest

One of the largest protests ever held in Providence happened Friday
We need to change the Police Bill of Rights! We need to change the Police Bill of Rights because it is oppressive to people all over the nation. I am a tax paying citizen. My question is: Why aren’t you protecting me?

On Friday at least 10,000 people marched from Central High School and Kennedy Plaza to the Rhode Island State House in a youth led march staged in response to police and state violence against Black lives. 

It may have been the largest social justice march in Rhode Island history, and was easily the largest such event in recent Rhode Island history.

The protest was met with extreme policing. National Guard soldiers, armed with automatic weapons, fortified the Providence Place Mall and other locations downtown. Shopkeepers boarded up windows. 

Helicopters surveilled the crowd from overhead, barricades were erected, emergency text messages were sent to phones. When the protesters arrived at the State House, they were denied access to all but the lowest level of the stairs.

It was ironic, I suppose, that a peaceful rally to protest the over policing of Black bodies was met with over policing.

This was a youth led protest, and the youth who organized it, under the group name Step Up RI, had a speaking program. As much video as I could capture is available HERE.

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.

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