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Saturday’s Black Lives Matter protest march from Trinity Stadium to GAR Park is being hailed by officials for its peaceful and respectful manner.
An unofficial estimate put the crowd size at between 1,500 and 2,000 people. Organized by Haverhill High School students Alice Marvin, Gretchen Fieldhouse and Ambriel Mayhew, Haverhill Police and elected officials took part in the walk and motorcade along Lincoln Avenue, Water Street and Ginty Boulevard.
“Chief Alan DeNaro and we the members of the Haverhill Police Department want to extend our most heartfelt appreciation to the organizers of today’s protest march, and all those who participated in it. The march, which traveled from Trinity Stadium to GAR Park was incident free except for a few heat-related medical issues, which were easily managed. We are extremely proud to serve a community which exercised their rights in such a safe and peaceful manner, and are honored to be a part of this community,” read an official Haverhill Police statement after the event.
Honoring George Floyd, who was murdered while in police custody in Minneapolis, and the Black Lives Matter movement, the protest began solemnly with a prayer and ended with calls for justice and change. Participants kneeled at GAR Park for 8 minutes and 46 seconds—the amount of time Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin pinned his knee against Floyd’s throat.
A large banner with “Black Lives Matter” stayed in the forefront of the march. Other handmade signs included “Color is Not A Crime,” “We All Bleed the Same Color,” “No Justice, No Peace,” “White Silence is Violence,” “If You are Neutral in Situations of Injustice, You Have Chosen the Side of the Oppressor,” “I Can’t Breath,” “Take the Power Back,” “Why Can’t We All Get Along? Rodney King Asked Over 20 Years Ago” and others.
Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini, who participated by car and stepped out occasionally to talk with protesters, wrote on social media that he is “very proud of our Haverhill Police…for participating in this peaceful #BlackLivesMatter protest and march.”