Hundreds of protesters marched in St. Charles on Wednesday, blocking traffic on Route 94 and later filling Main Street with a crowd that stretched more than three blocks long.
The demonstrations were among several held in the St. Louis region to condemn police brutality toward African Americans following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Others on Wednesday included a candlelight vigil in midtown St. Louis and a march in Ballwin.
The crowd gathered in the sweltering late afternoon heat at Cinema St. Charles and marched shoulder to shoulder to Interstate 70 as temperatures reached into the mid-90s. Protesters weaved between stopped cars on the highway, as police officers closed major intersections to traffic.
A second group of protesters later marched down Main Street in St. Charles, chanting “No justice, no peace” and carrying signs that read, “Silence is violence.”
The exurb’s population is more than 80% white, and its historic district was the site of a tense protest in 2017 over another black man killed by police. Then, police carried riot shields and batons at the protest.
On Wednesday, St. Charles Mayor Dan Borgmeyer told demonstrators through a police cruiser loudspeaker that he appreciated their cause and would give protesters the opportunity to be heard.
“We understand your plight,” Borgmeyer said, adding that no protesters had been arrested during an earlier demonstration on Interstate 94. “We want your voices heard.”
Earlier that day, the officer charged with killing Floyd was served an additional second-degree murder charge. Three other former officers involved in the incident now face charges of aiding and abetting murder, according to court documents.
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