Thousands of people marched from the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta to the State Capitol on Monday, demanding new laws as the session reconvenes after halting due to coronavirus concerns.

Various speakers addressed the crowd, urging lawmakers pass legislation ending immunity for police officers and citizen’s arrest laws.

 

“We are going to take over the Capitol every single day until they do their job,” the Rev. James Woodall, president of the Georgia NAACP told the crowd.

Atlanta Hawks Head Coach Lloyd Pierce addressed Georgia’s voting problems during the rally.

RELATED: NAACP march on Capitol demands lawmakers tackle 'electoral failures'

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Atlanta June 15, 2020, Lloyd Pierce head coach of the Atlanta Hawks spoke on behalf of the NAACP and the BLM protests. ( Ryon Horne and Tyson Horne / tyson.horne@ajc.com)

“I was born a black man. And I know one day I’ll die a black man, just as a lot of our players and coaches are on the stage,” Pierce said. “But I don’t want to die because I’m a black man.”

Other metro Atlanta leaders downtown today include New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Jamal Bryant:

Here’s a look at the crowd of supporters:

Shanell Hanson of Atlanta had never marched at a protest before. But she brought her sons David, Aden and Jordan to Monday’s march to the Georgia State Capitol.

“I have three sons. I’m afraid for their lives,” Hanson said. “Enough is enough.”

Jawan Olajuwon, a social studies teacher, was among the demonstrators:

Tonya Wideman of Douglasville was also among those attending the rally.

“I think they think we’re targeting the police,” Wideman said. “There are a lot of good cops. I have police in my family. This is about police brutality.”

Outside the Capitol, several Democratic lawmakers joined the protesters.

As the main protest group rallies outside the Capitol, a few dozen demonstrators streamed into the building, holding signs demanding racial justice.

A few dozen protesters linked arms in the Capitol Rotunda, saying they won’t leave until they hear from Gov. Brian Kemp or other leaders.

Thousands attended a rally Monday that included a march to the State Capitol. (Photo: Steve Schaefer/For The AJC)
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Thousands attended a rally Monday that included a march to the State Capitol. (Photo: Steve Schaefer/For The AJC)

A heavy police presence was visible during the rally. But no arrests were seen.

Shortly after noon, the protesters had dispersed, but organizers promise they’ll return if lawmakers don’t take action on their main priorities.

“We will shut this Capitol down if they do not answer our demand with immediate action on our main items,” Woodall said.

He was echoed by state Rep. Erica Thomas, a Cobb County Democrat who offered her own warning about the final stretch of the legislative session.

“For the next 11 days, there will be no peace in the Capitol unless we get some of these things done.”

After the main rally had subsided, more than 100 protesters marched through downtown and Midtown, blocking key intersections

“Atlanta, we are cutting off your money flow,” one leader of the protest said.

Along the route, many motorists honked their support, those others were visibly exasperated. After a while, police officers on motorcycles cleared traffic.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.