Demonstrators in New Bedford over the weekend protested the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died pinned beneath the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25.

The action was was one of many held in cities across the country to honor Black lives and decry the fate of Floyd and other African Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of police officers.

The group assembled in front of New Bedford City Hall then moved to the corner of Union and County streets where they held signs, chanted, and drew encouraging honks from passing motorists. New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro joined the protesters, and Mitchell issued a statement:

"The demonstrations today in our city were marked by civility and respect, which made their message so much more powerful," Mitchell wrote on social media. "I share the outrage, incredulity and heartache that so many have expressed in the wake of George Floyd's death. It should not take an act of violence, perpetrated under color of law, fo us to wake to the persistent discrimination faced by African Americans. All of us — every American — must raise our voices against hatred and systemic injustice in our society, not just today, but every day."

On Sunday afternoon, people marched from New Bedford, amassed on the Rt. 6 bridge to Fairhaven, briefly blocked traffic, and took a knee to honor Black lives. In Fall River demonstrators gathered in front of Government Center, rallied, listened to speakers, and also took a knee for nearly nine minutes -- the amount of time Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin allegedly held his knee to Floyd's neck as the Black man pleaded for air.

Chauvin is in custody and has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

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