Huge crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters gather in the National Mall on anniversary of MLK's 'I have a dream' speech

A HUGE crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in Washington DC on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream" speech.

Activists addressed police brutality at the DC commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington on Friday – five days after Jacob Blake's shooting in Wisconsin.

Thousands gathered near the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where the Rev King delivered his historic address 57 years ago.

“I want to give space for Black people in the crowd to say they are not okay,” said Jumaane Williams, New York City’s public advocate, who spoke shortly after the program began.

“We are like the nameless grandmothers who got in the streets and said ‘We will make you live up to what America says she is,’” Williams said. “We are here. We’re not going anywhere.”

It marked the largest political gathering in Washington since the coronavirus pandemic began with 200,000 attendees.

Many people wore shirts with the image of the late Rep. John Lewis – the last living speaker at the original March on Washington before his recent death.

Lines stretched for several blocks as organizers insisted on taking temperatures as part of coronavirus protocols, emphasizing the need for social distancing and masks.

MLK's son, Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Al Sharpton are both set to deliver keynote addresses later.

Sharpton has assembled the families of police brutality victims, including Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner, among others.

After the rally, participants will march to the MLK memorial in West Potomac Park, which is next to the National Mall.

The turnout in in Washington was expected to be lighter due to the spread of COVID-19.

The National Action Network organized satellite march events in South Carolina, Florida and Nevada, among others as a result.

Sharpton urged people to march on their senators’ offices to demand police reform and reinvigorated United States voter protections.

Two months ago, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act.

This would ban the use of stranglehold maneuvers and end qualified immunity for officers

Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after a white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Democratic senators reintroduced legislation to restore a provision of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965 gutted by the US Supreme Court in 2013 in July.

It previously required states with a history of voter suppression to seek federal clearance before changing voting regulations.

But both measures have to be approved by the GOP-led Senate.

“We’re demanding that that be enacted,” King told the Associated Press on Thursday. “The senators won’t even take action on it.

"That gives us an opportunity to say, ‘OK, we gave you guys a chance, we as the people, as Black people, as white people, as Latinos and Hispanics and we’re going to vote you out.’”

The coalition Movement for Black Lives will hold its virtual Black National Convention, which is set to unveil their new agenda based on the success of the widespread protests.

It will address defunding police departments and diverting funds to healthcare, education, housing and other social services in black communities.

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