At least 1,000 people assembled Saturday afternoon at the site where three black men were lynched 100 years ago in downtown Duluth to demand justice and change for every life lost to police brutality.

Saturday's event beginning at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial takes place as protests continue for the fifth day in Minneapolis after George Floyd died in the custody of Minneapolis police on Monday.

The protest began at the memorial with speeches and moved along First Street toward City Hall, with at least six blocks of protesters shouting, "No justice, no peace. Prosecute the police,” and “I can’t breathe” — what Floyd repeated several times as the police officer held a knee on his neck.

Saraiya Piantek and her son Sean, 7, join the other protesters in kneeling during a moment of silence at the Duluth Civic Center. They’re protesting racism and the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)
Saraiya Piantek and her son Sean, 7, join the other protesters in kneeling during a moment of silence at the Duluth Civic Center. They’re protesting racism and the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

The Duluth Police Department and the city of Duluth announced Saturday morning that they would monitor the protest and are prepared should the event escalate.

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“We expect a peaceful assembly of people who are gathering to express their First Amendment rights,” a news release from the police department read. “DPD will be in the area to ensure free speech rights can be exercised safely, but we will give people the space to protest.”

Ingrid Hornibrook, spokesperson for the Duluth Police Department, told the News Tribune that the department notified the Downtown Duluth Council about the scheduled protest, but didn’t advise businesses to close or safeguard themselves, although several businesses throughout the city — including Super One stores and pharmacies — announced early closures Saturday. A news release from the city of Duluth asked the community to stay calm and remain peaceful should they participate in the event.

A man holding a “No Justice, No Peace” sign reacts to a speaker at the Duluth Civic Center Saturday. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)
A man holding a “No Justice, No Peace” sign reacts to a speaker at the Duluth Civic Center Saturday. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

Most protesters were wearing masks and were distancing apart as they marched along First Street. Police were stationed at most intersections between the memorial and City Hall.

A previous protest by the same organizers started at the intersection of 21st Avenue East and London Road in Duluth on Wednesday evening, drawing more than 100 people.

Other protests in the Northland have been promoted on social media.

The Hibbing Police Department said in a news release Saturday that it received “several reports” of groups planning to protest Sunday at Hibbing High School and Monday at Hibbing City Hall.

“The Hibbing Police Department respects a peaceful protest and asks the public to use safety during the protest if it occurs,” the news release read. “We want to remind the public that protesting on private property without permission is not allowed. We also want to remind the public that blocking city streets and throughways is also not allowed without the proper permit issued by the city of Hibbing.”

The stream of protesters stretched several blocks on the march from the Clayton-Jackson-McGhie Memorial to the Civic Center. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)
The stream of protesters stretched several blocks on the march from the Clayton-Jackson-McGhie Memorial to the Civic Center. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

“Justice for George Floyd,” another event promoted on Facebook as a “peaceful protest,” is scheduled for noon Sunday outside the St. Louis County Courthouse in Virginia.