Thousands in Baltimore march against racist police system

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On Saturday, June 6, the Peoples Power Assembly led a demonstration in Baltimore demanding justice for George Floyd and the abolition of the Baltimore Police Department. Other demands included not one more dollar for the police and complete community control. 

Approximately 8,000 people marched through the city, followed by over 200 cars. Marchers started outside the Harriet Tubman Solidarity Center on North Charles Street. 

The demonstration’s first stop was the Baltimore City Jail complex. As marchers chanting “Free them all!” approached, hundreds of prisoners could be heard chanting back “Black lives matter!” and “Thank you.”  This demonstration is one of several to visit the jail complex in the last two months as local organizers have demanded universal testing and full personal protective equipment (PPE) for all prisoners. 

From the jail complex, the march traveled east to the Douglas Homes public housing development. The Rev. Annie Chambers, a PPA organizer and former Black Panther, has been holding free food giveaways to the residents there since the beginning of the pandemic. Demonstrators wanted to show solidarity with the residents of Douglas Homes, who find their homes a target for sale to and redevelopment by wealthy Johns Hopkins University. 

Next, the march traveled to the Baltimore City Police Headquarters. Marchers shouted “No justice, no peace! No racist police!” and “Money for jobs and education, not for police occupation!” 

The march culminated at the Maryland National Guard 5th Regiment Armory. Marchers chose this location to conclude because of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s plans to send the Maryland National Guard to illegally occupy Washington, D.C. 

Speakers from the Ujima People’s Progress Party and the Socialist Unity Party gave talks denouncing imperialism. This included a powerful message from UPP organizer Brandon Walker, who argued that one cannot be anti-racist without being anti-imperialist. 

Socialist Unity Party national spokesperson Sharon Black talked about how the acts of war by the U.S. against countries like Syria and Venezuela are echoed in police violence against oppressed communities in the U.S.

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