Atlanta protests: Peaceful rallies held in cities across metro Atlanta

APD reports no arrests for second straight day
A man shouts as he  marches on Centennial Olympic Park Drive during Saturday’s protests in downtown Atlanta.

Credit: John Amis

Credit: John Amis

A man shouts as he marches on Centennial Olympic Park Drive during Saturday’s protests in downtown Atlanta.

Rallies for justice extended outside downtown Atlanta on Saturday as events were held throughout the metro area, including in Cobb, Forsyth, Fayette and Gwinnett counties, where thousands participated.

The rallies — organized to protest recent killings including George Floyd in Minneapolis — extended to a ninth day in Atlanta. An 8 p.m. curfew originally in place in the city was lifted Saturday by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. The mayor has not yet made a determination for Sunday.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Atlanta protests hit ninth day

ALSO: Photos from Saturday's protests

Events were held in Cumming, Marietta, Athens and Duluth, as well as numerous downtown locations, including the King Center and police headquarters.

Atlanta police have arrested 532 people since the protests began. But no arrests were reported Friday, authorities said.

10:59 p.m.: For the second consecutive day, Atlanta police reported that no protesters were arrested.

10:45 p.m.: Protesters appear to be leaving the Capitol, but many are vowing to return tomorrow. Several officers remain on scene, guarding the statue of the Confederate general.

10:30 p.m.: After a peaceful day of demonstrations across metro Atlanta, a group of nearly 100 protesters are engaged in a standoff with police wearing riot gear outside the State Capitol.

The officers are surrounding a statue of Confederate General John Brown Gordon as the remaining protesters call for it to be destroyed.

Chants of “Tear Down Gordon” can be heard across Liberty Plaza.

9:37 p.m.: As the rally wrapped up in downtown Atlanta, many of the protesters decided to hang around a bit longer. For the few merchants open for business, it was a welcome relief.

"It feels like they're finally starting to listen to us," said Khandee Brown, 31, who attended Saturday's protest. "We don't want to fight. We don't want to argue. We just want to make change."

9:18 p.m.: Just a week ago, rage reverberated through downtown. Cars were burned, stores looted. But tonight, after a ninth day of protests, tensions had abated.

There were impromptu dance parties on multiple street corners. Ben E. King's "Stand by Me" serenaded diverse demonstrators, and the sense of unity was palpable. Hope, seemingly lost in the chaos of 2020, had come out of hiding, at least for one day.

"I feel love all around," said Cherie Rankin, 43, of Atlanta. "Man, it's flowing now."

National Guard members stationed at the Capitol smile Saturday evening as they speak with demonstrators standing nearby.

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9 p.m.: Handfuls of National Guard troops can be seen atop the parking deck at the CNN Center. Down on the ground, the crowd appears to be thinning out, though some protesters are still waving signs and having dance-offs.

8:39 p.m. Hundreds of protesters remain at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. With a limited police presence, the scene looks vastly different than it has in recent days. As nightfall approaches, some demonstrators are listening to music while others are handing out snacks and bottled water to fellow marchers.

7:37 p.m.: A peaceful protest at the Governor's mansion has ended.

7:27 p.m.: The march from downtown Atlanta has concluded at Piedmont Park. The demonstrators are playing chanting, dancing and sharing plans about Sunday's march.

6:37 p.m.: Not everyone in downtown Atlanta was participating in rallies Saturday evening. Some motorists are getting caught in the march, unsure where to drive. Others were honking their horns in support. One African-American motorist argued with a handful of demonstrators as they marched past on Ralph McGill Boulevard. He was forced to wait.

5:40 p.m.: Protesters sat in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds in Freedom Park to honor the life of George Floyd. A Minneapolis police officer had his knee on Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds before Floyd died.

“I need you to look at this like you lost a father, an uncle, or a brother, because the truth is, you did,” organizer Sergio Tuberquia said.

Tuberquia, 22, helped organize today’s march in Freedom Park. It drew several hundred more protesters than expected.

“The big goal today is to start branching out to other places,” he said after almost a week of protests in Centennial Olympic Park. “The goal is to be very peaceful and keep protesting,” he said.

He and the other organizers hope protests will lead to a governing body for the police.

Zachary Nealy (in batman shirt) and Rashaad Horne, right, shout from a rooftop parking deck toward protesters at Centennial Olympic Park, as their band plays Saturday, June 6, 2020, in Atlanta. The musicians deicided to provide support through music to help give them a little extra energy. Protesters were demonstrating against the death of George Floyd at the knee of Minneapolis police. JOHN AMIS FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: John Amis

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Credit: John Amis

5:30 p.m.: The mood was festive near downtown Atlanta. A group of young African-American men and women who are band members at various historically black colleges and universities gathered for a jam session atop a parking deck. Others yelled "No Justice, No Peace" as they played.

The group was organized on Facebook. Terrell Guerra, 20, a Bethune-Cookman University student, was one of the musicians, playing the tuba.

“With all the police brutality and negativity, we wanted to do something positive,” said Guerra, a graduate of Miller Grove High School in DeKalb County.

Earlier Saturday

Shortly after 1 p.m., about 1,000 people were marching toward Atlanta’s City Hall. And crowds continued to grow throughout the afternoon.

A largely young, multiracial crowd of hundreds began a march near Atlanta Police Headquarters and were headed to the state Capitol shortly after 3 p.m.

The march began with prayer. Organizer Ricky Fleming, 25, of Athens , told the crowd: “We’re tired of it. These streets are our streets and we’re taking them back.”

The crowd carried signs in English and Spanish demanding action. Fleming, who is white, said he got involved because he felt he wasn’t doing enough to be part of the necessary changes, such as repealing laws he believes are harmful to non-whites.

Several vehicles honked their horns in support of the marchers, who chanted “I Can’t Breathe” and “Black Lives Matter” as they walked up Peachtree Street.

A group gathered in front of the Atlanta Public Safety head quarters prays before during marching through the streets Saturday, June 6, 2020, in Atlanta. Protesters were demonstrating against the death of George Floyd at the knee of Minneapolis police. JOHN AMIS FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: John Amis

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Credit: John Amis

The crowd stopped in front of the Fulton County Government Center, where several speakers urged them to vote in Tuesday’s elections.

“This is where the change takes place,” organizer Keith Strickland told the crowd.

As organizer Dionisio Tabora, 27, of Stone Mountain spoke, a woman interrupted him to demand mental health reform. The crowd roared its approval. The protesters went to Atlanta City Hall, where they chanted George Floyd’s name as law enforcement officers stood behind a barricade in front of the state Capitol.

Several speakers spoke of being accosted by police. Several demonstrators yelled and held signs urging police reform. One man who said he served in the U.S. Navy, Jeff Jones, got on one knee.

“We’re going to fight for the justice that fights for all,” said Jones, wearing a Colin Kaepernick T-shirt.

Dionisio Tabora, 27, one of the organizers of Saturday’s march through downtown Atlanta, was pleasantly surprised by the turnout. He expected about 75 protesters. Hundreds gathered.

“It fills me with joy to see people not worry about the National Guard and stand up for what is right,” he said.

One African-American officer in an unmarked vehicle raised his fist in the air to cheers from marchers as Tabora walked by. Tabora’s group screened people who said they wanted to participate to make sure they were non-violent demonstrators.

Tabora was at the first Atlanta rally that turned violent. He said police and demonstrators shared responsibility for the looting, and Tabora said he wants to see laws that hold police accountable. Many held “Defund Police” signs.

Hundreds also attended a rally at Freedom Park, where organizers called on those attending to contact their government representatives to spark change.

Elizabeth and Mark Hammontree, both 25, attended the rally Saturday in Avondale Estates. (Photo: Helena Oliviero/AJC)

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Avondale Estates

In Avondale Estates, hundreds of people lined a main thoroughfare Saturday morning holding homemade signs with messages condemning racism, injustice and police brutality.

A steady stream of cars — with many honking and waving in support — passed by as people of all ages and families held signs written on everything from bright yellow poster board to scraps of cardboard. Some drivers honked the entire stretch of North Avondale Road.

Elizabeth and Mark Hammontree, both 25, have participated in multiple anti-racism protests in Atlanta, but the couple who live in the Avondale Estates area felt it was also important to show solidarity in their local community.

Hammontree, who is about to start law school after teaching high school English for four years, said he was thinking about his students, particularly his black students, while joining protests.

“My black students grow up to be in the constant threat of racist violence and racial profiling,” said Hammontree, who is white. “The time has come to act and to demand real change.”

6/6/20 - Atlanta - Protestors lined N. Highland Avenue in Atlanta for a rally and protest organized for kids and families. Car horns blared in support as several hundred protestors spaced themselves along the street.    Bob Andres /

Credit: Bob Andres

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Credit: Bob Andres


Hundreds of families lined a two-mile stretch of North Highland Ave. from East Rock Springs Rd. to Ponce de Leon Ave. in the affluent Morningside and Virginia Highland neighborhoods from noon until 2 p.m.

They held “Black Lives Matter” signs and chanted “No justice, no peace” as people drove by in cars, honking with fists raised. Most of the protesters were white.

One white man held a sign that said, “I will never understand, but still I stand.” A white woman held a sign that said, “Breonna Taylor should be 27.”

A peaceful rally was held Saturday outside the Forsyth County courthouse. (Photo: Hyosub Shin/AJC)

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At least 400 people participated in a rally outside the Forsyth County courthouse Saturday.

Many carried signs and some went down on one knee during the peaceful protest.

PHOTOS: Protesters gather in Forsyth County 

Later on, a small rally was held at a nearby IHOP restaurant. The second rally in Forsyth County was organized by teenagers.

A handful of counter-protesters also attended, but they were largely outnumbered.


An estimated 2,000 people gathered in Fayetteville for family-oriented rally Saturday afternoon.

Local business owner Joe Domaleski said the event was uplifting and unlike anything he’s seen in the town he’s called home for many years.

“I think it’s important for a community to show solidarity,” Domaleski said. “I’m the type of person that doesn’t mind getting a little out of my comfort zone.”

Police Chief Scott Gray was among those who spoke at the rally, which several church groups also attended.

The group marched from a theater to City Hall, with many people carrying signs. Cars driving by honked in support of the demonstrators.

“I felt like it was important to be there,” Domaleski said. “I frankly was blown away by the diversity of the group.”

An estimated 2,000 people gathered in Fayetteville for family-oriented rally Saturday afternoon.

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— Hyosub Shin, Sarah Kallis, Mike Esterl, Bob Andres and Shaddi Abusaid contributed to this report.

June 6, 2020 -  Atlanta - A large group of demonstrators march from the Martin Luther King center toward Piedmont park this evening as protests continued in Atlanta Saturday.   Protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody continued around the United States, as his case renewed anger about others involving African Americans, police and race relations.     Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal Constitution

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Teenagers helped organize a rally held Saturday afternoon in Forsyth County. (Photo: Hyosub Shin/AJC)

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A protester holds a sign Saturday at a rally in Forsyth County. (Photo: Hyosub Shin/AJC)

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Hundreds attended a peaceful rally Saturday outside the Forsyth County courthouse. (Photo: Hyosub Shin/AJC)

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