ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A loud and crowded, but so far peaceful protest in downtown Albuquerque took place on Sunday in response to the death of George Floyd. The protest started near Central and University around 7:00 Sunday evening with thousands of protesters marching throughout the city wanting to bring justice for Floyd.
“Honestly, it’s just about reform. We just want peace, no violence. The couple of chants you hear cursing and stating violence they’re not with us,” said protester Frankie Grady.
Grady was one of the thousands of people who took part in the protest. As far as KRQE News 13 crews saw, the protest was peaceful, as people chanted “George Floyd,” and “black lives matter” from University and Central all the way down to 8th Street.
Hundreds of people held signs while cars honked and people yelled chants as they marched down Central to UNM. KRQE News 13 crews caught a dumpster fire off Lead and Harvard, but police could not confirm if it was directly related to the protest.
The protest followed a candlelight vigil for Floyd where hundreds of people paid their respects and listened to dozens of speakers share their thoughts on Floyd’s death. The social services organization Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice organized the event hoping to make a difference.
“This is not just another demonstration. It’s not just another vigil. It’s a call to commitment to make some things happen. We want to put an end to institutional racism,” said Jim Harvey of Albuquerque.
Mayor Keller also made an appearance at the vigil. During his speech, a couple of people chanted “defund the police.” As far as KRQE News 13 saw Sunday evening, there were no confrontations with police.
They maintained a block away distance from the protesters at all times. Organizers of the vigil wanted to make it clear they were not associated to the protest.
However, by early Monday morning, protests turned violent as protesters started fires in the middle of Central and 3rd Street and even smashed out the windows of nearby businesses. It’s unclear which group is responsible for the downtown protests that turned violent but it is not believed to be those with the Black Lives Matter demonstration.
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