Hundreds call for racial justice in downtown Charleston protest

Published: Jul. 14, 2016 at 1:45 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2016 at 11:52 AM EDT
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Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News
Charleston Mayor Tecklenburg with his wife and demonstrators at Marion Square. (Source: Typhani...
Charleston Mayor Tecklenburg with his wife and demonstrators at Marion Square. (Source: Typhani Gray)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A peaceful protest in downtown Charleston drew a crowd Wednesday evening, many calling for racial equality.

Hundreds gathered in Marion Square, marching and chanting for change.

The protest was lead by the group Black Lives Matter.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg was among the hundreds marching.

"No justice, no peace!" Protesters yelled. "Know justice, know peace!"

The protest lasted several hours with unpredictable moves. At times, protesters marched around Marion Square.

The march paused several times, at different spots, with chanting and storytelling.

Protesters said it was a call for racial equality and a message of understanding.

"Not every cop is a racist and not every black person is a thug,"  Brhandy Thornton said.

Thornton came with Herbert Love who shook the hands and spoke with some of the police officers on scene.

"We talked about how things are peaceful and about how we all need to come together and just be peaceful and talk to one another," Love said. "Because if you don't have talk, you don't have a dialogue, no matter what race you are, you can never solve the problem."

Protesters said law enforcement is not fair to all races, referencing recent shootings.

"We deserve to have a free life and a peaceful life and don't deserve to be shot down like animals or better yet, they treat animals better than they treat us," Maria White said.

At times the peaceful rally took negative turns as people with anarchy signs stood in front of police officers, speaking crudely to them.

That group was quickly told by other protesters to step away.

People of all races came together, calling for racial justice.

"A lot of white people in Charleston think that racism is a thing of the past and that they can be color blind," Kat Morgan said. "But racism is still alive in Charleston right now."

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