Below is a rolling blog of updates from the March for Justice protest scheduled for downtown Frederick. Check back here and follow reporters Ryan Marshall (@RMarshallFNP) and Jeremy Arias (@Jarias_Prime) on Twitter for updates, along with photographers Bill Green (@FNP_Green) and Graham Cullen (FNP_Cullen).
Thousands of protesters traveled down onto the Interstate, briefly shutting down I-70 interstate in both directions, and part of I-70 and Md. 85 before walking back into town.
Speeches have concluded at Baker Park and the crowd has started to disperse.
As a heads up, the demonstration at Baker Park has just ended and a crowd of well over 1,000 is making its way back toward the various parking garages and lots they came from.— Jeremy Arias (@Jarias_Prime) June 5, 2020
Thousands are still gathered at Baker Park as speeches continue.
Multiple speakers addressed the crowd at the Baker Park bandshell:
Frederick Mayor Michael O'Connor: "I am tired, but not as tired as you of a system that has worked against you for 400 years ... I hear you, I see you and black lives matter."
Organizer Gabrael Moore: "All lives matter once our lives matter."
Organizer Amiyah Spencer: "Why do I have to fear for my life and they do not? Why do I have to fear for my life based on something as insignificant as the color of my skin? ... I can be in fear if you have a gun to my head. But why are you in fear if you're holding the gun?"
Bentz Street has been reopened at 2nd Street, but is still closed westbound past the Talley Recreation Center.
Patrick Grossman, Frederick's acting police chief, said it's difficult to estimate a crowd size at Baker Park, but added it is probably larger than the women's marches in recent years. Grossman added it's one of the largest protests he's seen in his 23 years in Frederick.
More people are filtering into Baker Park. Organizers estimated that thousands of people attended today's event. Bentz Street is closed to traffic between Rockwell and Patrick streets, city officials reported.
Organizers tell me they had more than 7,000 people on Facebook planning to come. I'm terrible at estimating crowd size, but that seems entirely possible.— Ryan Marshall (@RMarshallFNP) June 5, 2020
Another wave of protesters is marching through downtown.
Protesters have made it to Baker Park. City officials announced Klineharts Avenue at 3rd Street is closed to traffic.
Marchers started traveling from Mullinix Park through downtown Frederick, en route to Baker Park. County and city officials also announced 2nd Street is closed to traffic between Market Street and Baker Park.
City and county officials announce Market Street is closed from Carroll Creek through 2nd Street, and motorists on cross streets will not be able to pass Market Street right now.
Protesters can be heard chanting "No Justice, No Peace!" and "Black Lives Matter!" among others as hundreds gather in Mullinix Park.
Protesters have gathered at Mullinix Park in downtown Frederick, including many local clergy members, and organizers have delayed the start of the march to 6 p.m.
Organizers said the march is still planned to start at 5 p.m. Heavy thunderstorms rolled through downtown Frederick as some protesters near Market and Patrick streets waved signs and chanted "Black Lives Matter" and "No Justice, No Peace!
March organizers said they'll march in the rain, but not in thunderstorms. They'll have a final decision by about 3 p.m. on whether to delay or postpone the march, they added.