Protesters planned to take to the streets across the U.S. Saturday for the 12th consecutive day of demonstrations, with calls on social media for one million people at the White House and other Washington, D.C., landmarks, amid continued demands for justice-system reform sparked by the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.
There were few signs that anger over Mr. Floyd’s death and police treatment of black Americans was waning. Protests have largely remained peaceful, as arrests related to looting and destruction have declined after some rioting in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis on May 25.
“I want to welcome all peaceful protesters to Washington, D.C.,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Friday as she stood near St. John’s Church, where President Trump on Monday posed for photos with a Bible after law-enforcement personnel forcibly cleared the area of peaceful protesters.
The largest gatherings are expected in the early afternoon near the White House and Lincoln Memorial. A march to the newly named Black Lives Matter Plaza—where the city has painted “Black Lives Matter” in giant yellow letters on the street—is planned for early evening. District of Columbia Police Chief Peter Newsham said he expected the largest crowds in Washington since the demonstrations began late last month.
President Trump was in the White House for the day with no public events scheduled.
Tall steel interlocking gates have been erected around the White House complex and federal land stretching to Constitution Avenue. Machines lifted massive concrete barricades from flatbed trucks and placed them behind the gates.
Ms. Bowser authorized the mobilization of some 1,200 members of the D.C. National Guard, but has objected to the government calling in guardsmen from other states. About 3,300 Guard members have deployed to Washington from Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.
Gatherings also are planned for New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston and small-town Raeford, N.C., near where George Floyd spent his early years. Mr. Floyd’s body will stop in Raeford for a public viewing and private service before traveling to Houston, where he lived before moving to Minneapolis. A public memorial on Monday and a private funeral on Tuesday will follow.
Mr. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed after police officers arrested him for allegedly trying to pass off a counterfeit $20 bill. Video that circulated widely on social media showed a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, with his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck as he pleaded for mercy and said he couldn’t breathe.
Some cities have already announced changes in response to the continuing protests. In Minneapolis, the city council said Friday it would ban police chokeholds and require officers to immediately report and intervene in any such unauthorized use of force. Also Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom called for state police to stop using strangleholds.