Demonstrators vow to sustain momentum until change happens

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With the Washington Monument in the background people walk on the street leading to the White House after the words Black Lives Matter were painted on it by city workers and activists Friday, June 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

ATLANTA – Protesters stirred by the death of George Floyd vowed Friday to turn an extraordinary outpouring of grief into a sustained movement as demonstrations shifted to a calmer, but no less determined focus on addressing racial injustice.

In Minneapolis, where Floyd died in police custody, the city agreed to ban police chokeholds and require officers to intervene any time they see unauthorized force by another officer. The changes are part of a stipulation between the city and state officials who launched a civil rights investigation into Floyd’s death. The City Council was expected to approve the agreement, which will be enforceable in court.

The country’s most significant demonstrations in a half-century — rivaling those during the civil rights and Vietnam War eras — resumed for an 11th day nationwide with continued momentum as the mood largely shifted from explosive anger to more peaceful calls for change. Formal and impromptu memorials to Floyd stretched from Minneapolis to North Carolina, where family members will gather Saturday to mourn him, and beyond.

Josiah Roebuck, a university student who used social media to help gather 100 people to demonstrate Friday in an Atlanta suburb, is confident the momentum will last.

“Once you start, you’re going to see this every day,” said Roebuck, who has attended multiple protests. “I just want minorities to be represented properly.”

Protests across the country had initially been marred by the setting of fires and smashing of windows, but Friday marked the third day of more subdued demonstrations.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who eulogized Floyd at a heartfelt tribute in Minneapolis on Thursday, said Friday that plans are in the works for a commemorative march on Washington on Aug. 28, the anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” speech. Sharpton said the event would be a way to maintain momentum as the legal cases of the four officers charged in Floyd's death move forward.

Floyd’s body was being taken to North Carolina, the state where he was born 46 years ago, for a public viewing and private service for family Saturday. Then in Texas, where Floyd lived most of his life, services culminating in a private burial will take place Monday and Tuesday.