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In 9th Day Of Protests, Marches Spread Across Charlotte

Updated 12:43 a.m.

Saturday was the ninth day demonstrators have taken to the streets of Charlotte to protest systemic racism and police brutality. In the afternoon, UNC Charlotte's "March for Justice" drew together students, faculty, and campus police to march around the campus. Later Saturday in Freedom Park, about 350 people gathered to listen to activists. 

Credit Jesse Steinmetz / WFAE
Cameron Parker, 19, left, and Kaden Knight, 18, organized Saturday's march in Charlotte's Freedom Park.

The group then marched to Park Road Shopping Center where they listened to more speeches from activists before returning to Freedom Park. 

One speaker told the group, "our history should not be taught as an elective."

Two Myers Park High School alumni, Cameron Parker and Kaden Knight, organized the march on their Instagram page called "Charlotte Liberation Party."

Protests continued Saturday evening in uptown Charlotte. A group of students at Lake Norman Charter School organized the first march of the night in uptown. It began and ended at Romare Bearden Park. At the conclusion, many people stayed and were joined by more to continue marching along the streets of uptown. 

Credit Jesse Steinmetz / WFAE
Marchers leave uptown on Third Street.

As the sun set, marchers left uptown along Third Street. Stopping at Cherry Park, a person on a loud speaker spoke of their pride in the unity and peace of this march.

Mario Black, one protest leader said, "we will keep it peaceful and avoid cursing tonight in honor of George Floyd. I want to honor him tonight peacefully and safely."

The march continued through the Cherry neigborhood. In the 1890s, Cherry was the first neighborhood in Charlotte built to provide home ownership opportunities for African Americans. 

Marcus Bottinger, pictured with his fist raised, is one of several bicyclists riding along with marchers on Saturday night. 6/6/20
Credit Jesse Steinmetz / WFAE
Marcus Bottinger, pictured with his fist raised, is one of several bicyclists riding along with marchers on Saturday night.

Throughout the march, a group of bicylists rode ahead of the protesters to block traffic. 

"Just in case we get that one person that don't like this going on and they just drive their car through the crowd, we're kinda blocking that," said rider Marcus Bottinger. 

Police presence was less visible than last weekend. CMPD officers were seen primarily blocking major intersections and entrances to I-277. 

Some protesters at the back of the march carried trash bags for collecting empty water bottles and other debris. 

Jennifer Lang contributed to this report. 

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.
Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.