BLACKSBURG, Va. – Protesters against police brutality took to the streets of Blacksburg on Monday afternoon.
Hundreds of people, many with signs reading “Black Lives Matter," marched together through the town. No incidents or property damage happened during the protest.
The demonstration started as a corner protest on Main Street and College Avenue just before noon. The crowd soon moved down the street to the Blacksburg Police Department, where they silently kneeled for nine minutes in honor of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.
From there, the protest went back through downtown and through Virginia Tech before returning to the police station. The crowd then listened to various speakers before dispersing at about 3 p.m.
Protester Anthony Lovelace felt it was his duty to show up for the demonstration.
“We’re not going to stop until we actually see a change. That’s why I’m out here, and I’m on my lunch break," Lovelace said. "I don’t care if it’s an hour, 30 minutes, 15 minutes, or 5 seconds. I’m out here trying to make a change showing my voice can be heard, and it is going to be heard.”
Lovelace said its his goal to build on the momentum of protests against police brutality for a lasting societal impact.
“There’s a bigger cause than just what you can do at that moment," Lovelace said. "If we can all come together and have this big conclusion where amendments, laws and changes start to happen, that’s what I want.”
Blacksburg police officers were present and in uniform at the rally, but they were not at the forefront. Two officers watched the demonstration at the police department from the station’s roof, and a variety of officers protected the protesters from traffic by trailing them with unmarked cars. They did not wear any protective riot gear.
Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson plans to share his thoughts about George Floyd’s death on Tuesday afternoon.