Wednesday's protests were calmer after new murder charges in George Floyd case, with larger crowds, singing

Song amid protest in Washington, D.C.
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/The Washington Post)

Protests continued across the U.S. for a ninth day Wednesday, sparked by the killing of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. In many major cities, Wednesday's protests were the sixth consecutive day of marches — and the largest. They also "turned notably more subdued on the eve of a Thursday memorial service" for Floyd, The Associated Press reports, and "the calmer protests came on the same day that prosecutors charged three more police officers and filed a new, tougher charge against" Chauvin, upgrading the top charge to second-degree murder.

In Washington, D.C., the new charges were announced by Romulo Richardson, to cheers from the protesters who amassed in the largest group yet despite an overwhelming pretense or armed federal police and at least 2,200 National Guard soldiers deployed across the capital. "They charged the four officers in George Floyd's murder tonight," Richardson said. "Y'all made that happen. ... Y'all made them believe us. There is strength in numbers."

Federal forces have expanded the perimeter around the White House, cutting off Lafayette Square with a wall of police. "At one point near the White House, protesters began singing 'Amazing Grace' as they knelt in view of law enforcement officers in riot gear," chanting "We are not going anywhere!" AP reports.

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"The mood was jubilant, with protesters singing and dancing as someone with a loudspeaker played Sam Cook's 'A Change is Gonna Come' and Michael Jackson's 'Man in the Mirror,'" the Post adds. And as the sun set, local musician Kenny Sway led the crowd in a chorus of "Lean on Me." The Post's Hannah Natanson described the singalong as a "surreal, beautiful, peaceful scene outside the White House."

"Tonight it just seems more organized. The momentum and energy is just much more tangible," one protester told the Post. "Everybody is seeing how the rest of the world is responding to this, and it's encouraging us." There was music in Portland, Oregon, too. Peter Weber

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