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Protesters march from Clayton to University City, as area enters another day of demonstrations

Protesters march from Clayton to University City, as area enters another day of demonstrations

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Updated with information as protest ended: 

CLAYTON — Hundreds of people marched Saturday afternoon from Clayton to University City in a protest against the deaths of black people killed by police.

A large crowd stretching several blocks blocked traffic on Forest Park Parkway and Delmar Boulevard as they marched down the major thoroughfares holding signs and chanting phrases like, "No justice, no peace," and, "This is what democracy looks like."

They sat in the middle of major intersections along the way, with fists in the air, urging stopped drivers to join the protest.

Protests have taken place in cities across the U.S. since the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died Monday after a white police officer kneeled on his neck to restrain him. The officer has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Saturday's march was the second large demonstration in two days here. On Friday, several hundred protesters marched in downtown St. Louis. Later, a group blocked Interstate 44 for almost three hours. One man climbed between the two trailers of a FedEx truck and died as the truck drove away.

On Saturday, the protest started at 3 p.m. at 100 South Central Avenue, where the justice center is situated. The diverse crowd included all ages and races. 

They marched up an on-ramp and filled Forest Park Parkway, delaying traffic. They went to the intersection of Big Bend Boulevard, where they sat in the middle of the intersection for nearly 10 minutes.

Jason Wilson, 47, of Clayton, marched Saturday with his wife and two sons.

"People say 'black lives matter.' It does matter. People use these words — and words like equity — fashionably, and we need to make it count," Wilson said. "I'm trying to keep the enthusiasm going around supporting the idea of equity and equality."

From there, the march headed north on Big Bend to Delmar Boulevard, and east toward the Loop.

As the protesters passed nearby residential streets, some chanted, "out of your homes, into the streets."

Along the way, passing cars honked, apparently in support. Police set up road blocks along the route for the marchers.

While briefly stopped in front of University City City Hall, one of the organizers, state Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis, thanked the crowd and said through a megaphone: "What we are doing is what we are going to keep doing!" 

Friends Jami Stark, 40, of Florissant, and Rebecca Steele, 39, of Hazelwood, said Saturday's protest was their first. They were heartbroken and fed up.

"We're done with it," Stark said. "It's time. It's way past time."

The protesters returned to Clayton and dispersed to their cars around 7 p.m., just as diners were filling the restaurant patios.

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