Peaceful protests continue on Charleston’s West Side

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Protests continue across the Mountain State over the death of George Floyd.

For the last five days, neighbors from Charleston’s West Side have been gathering at the corner of Virginia Street and Central Avenue. They meet every afternoon around 3:30 or 4 pm. It started with just a few people but the number seems to grow each day.

“We have less value on our lives than a rock on the road,” said protest organizer, Martec Washington.

“We believe that one day no kids are going to be fearful because their skin is black,” said Washington. “It is really a shame that you have to be scared because of a skin color.”

They are aware of the bigger protests happening across the country and within West Virginia, but they believe change happens within their own community.

“I have kids,” protestor Aqiyla McMillan told 13 News Reporter Lily Bradley.

“I am a neighborhood mother, all the kids come to my house. I have to fight for my kids, my father, myself, my family, my kids and the kids of the community. So I have to make the first step at home.”

Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt stopped by the protest on the West Side, shaking hands and talking with protesters.

Twitter post via Lily Bradley.

“This is our town and we have to make sure that our kids feel safe here,” said Chief Hunt.

The protesters stand on the corner, holding signs and chanting before marching their way through downtown Charleston. On Tuesday they blocked the intersection at Quarrier and Court Street for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to honor George Floyd.

Organizers say they aim to stay peaceful. While things did not get violent on Tuesday, there were definitely points of tensions, specifically when they blocked the intersection.

Charleston Police stood by to ensure everyone stayed safe. They later stepped in to block intersections and direct traffic as protesters march on.

“What I am hoping is that people open up their hearts, their minds and their ears,” added Washington. “Listen to what we are saying.”

Washington says they plan to continue their protest and march through the rest of the week, with a big march planned for Sunday evening.

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