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Thousands of protesters participated in hundreds of marches, rallies and celebrations across the country to commemorate Juneteenth, demanding an end to police brutality and systematic racism in the nation. Some called for the removal of statues that deify slavery and oppression. NewsHour Weekend’s Christopher Booker reports.
Yesterday was Juneteenth, the day that marks the end of slavery when in 1865, word finally reached the last enslaved black people in Texas that they were free.
Across the country, the holiday was celebrated with a new urgency as mass protests for racial justice continue.
NewsHour Weekend's Christopher Booker has more.
"lift every voice and sing"
In a square in downtown Brooklyn, thousands of protesters gathered as they have been for weeks in cities around the country. Demanding an end to police brutality and systemic racism. And to celebrate Juneteenth.
"let us march on…til victory … is won… is won. That what today is about, let's march!
This rally and march was one of more than 90 organized events yesterday in New York City… And one of hundreds taking place across the country
In cities like San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans and Orlando the Juneteenth events also called for America to reconcile with its racism and institutional discrimination against people of color.
While events varied across the country – some returned the focus to statues that commemorate long-standing symbols of the country's oppressive past.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, after a day of marching, protesters pulled down two statues of confederate soldiers.
In Washington D.C., Police didn't intervene when protesters toppled and burned a statue of confederate General Albert Pike.
Prompting president Donald Trump to tweet: "These people should be immediately arrested. A disgrace to our country!"
And in New York, marchers surrounded a statue of Christopher Columbus, which was heavily guarded by police to prevent any attempt to topple it.
Demands to remove statues and protests against racism and police brutality also continued overseas today.
In Edinburgh, protesters gathered at the statue of of Henry Dundas, a Scottish politician who played a large role in delaying the end of Britain's slave trade.
In Paris hundreds gathered in the streets… and in London tens of thousands of protesters marched for the fourth consecutive week, despite a ban on large gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
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Christopher Booker is a correspondent and producer for PBS NewsHour Weekend covering music, culture, our changing economy and news of the cool and weird. He also teaches at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, following his work with Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.
Sam Weber has covered everything from living on minimum wage to consumer finance as a shooter/producer for PBS NewsHour Weekend. Prior joining NH Weekend, he previously worked for Need to Know on PBS and in public radio. He’s an avid cyclist and Chicago Bulls fan.
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