A peaceful protest with roughly 500 people was held at Monday evening at Virginia Gateway. Police reported that the crowd required officers to divert traffic for several hours as the crowd moved around the area.

Protest events Monday in Northern Virginia were part of an ongoing response to the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer last week.

At the earlier protest in Gainesville, Charles Clements said he is concerned about his two adult sons and his baby grandson.

“I’m really concerned about their place in the world and in this country,” Clements said.

His wife, Lisa Clements, said the video of George Floyd’s killing was shocking.

“We actually saw another human being murdered in front of our eyes, George Floyd,” she said. “This has really shattered me to my core, to actually have seen this.”   

She said she saw a neighbor post online that Black Lives Matter protesters were thugs – a term President Donald Trump has called those protesting after George Floyd’s killing.

“That’s another reason why I’m here,” she said. “People will say it was unlawful and dangerous, I’ll be able to say ‘No, I was there and you weren’t.’”

Dale City resident Brandyn Munford held a sign he made for the protest: “Day 80: Breonna Taylor’s murderers are not in jail! #sayhername.”

Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by law enforcement in her home March 13.

“She wasn’t doing anything but sleeping,” Munford said.

Manassas resident Gimara Richards said she wants justice and equality for all people. She said the video of Floyd's death was disturbing because the police officers did not help Floyd as he struggle to breath. 

"I think we're fed up," she said. A teacher at Freedom High School, Richards said she attended the protest Monday to support her son and her students.

Rev. Cozy Bailey, president of the Prince William Chapter of the NAACP, told the crowd of protestors that this is showing the best of the county.

“This is a beautiful site,” he said.

IMG_20200601_172649.jpg

A protest briefly blocked traffic on Interstate 66 in the Fairfax area shortly after 5 p.m., reported Dave Dildine with WTOP.

'Planning for the worst and hoping for the best'

In Manassas, 200-300 protesters were at the Prince William County Courthouse, leading police to ask residents to avoid the area. 

At 5:09 p.m., police reported roads in Old Town Manassas would be closed as protesters moved through around the courthouse area. By 6:30, police reported that only small groups remained from the protest and it had remained peaceful throughout its entirety.

Earlier, protesters at the courthouse held signs and chanting among other slogans “Black lives matter,” “No justice, no peace,” the afternoon demonstration remained peaceful despite a few tense moments between protest leaders and the Prince William County Sheriff's Office deputies. 

In the middle of the demonstration at the courthouse, protesters presented Prince William County Sheriff Glen Hill with a pledge to sign that if, at any point, his officers shot an unarmed black man, he would step down. After a long back-and-forth, Hill declined to do so as his officers maintained a perimeter around the courthouse.

IMG_20200601_135218.jpg

Protesters marching in Manassas on Monday.

Niki Wilson, a 21-year-old from Manassas, said she was there to peacefully demand change, but saw that some in the crowd wanted to take a more confrontational approach.

“That’s not why I’m out here. I’m out here because I know there’s cops here and all over that abuse their power. Just because you saw one, there’s a lot more, and we need to change that,” Wilson told InsideNoVa. “Some people out here say they want to fight. I want to fight but with my voice. Nothing good going to come from destroying things.”

At times, various speakers alternated between a message of peace and a message of broader defiance. As some tried to engage Hill in a conversation while holding firm in their demand that he sign the pledge, others said they shouldn’t be trying to work with law enforcement at all.

At the Manassas City Council meeting Monday night, Police Chief Douglas Keen told the council that he wouldn’t be signing any documents. 

“None of us are going to sign a blank statement like that,” Keen said. “I will be glad to stand before your crowd and have a conversation to answer the questions you have. [There was] no desire to have a conversation. There is a group in the crowd that’s trying to antagonize the rest of them. We are planning for the worst and hoping for the best.”

Keen did not recommend that Manassas institute a curfew, though he said that may change tomorrow. On Sunday night, after a long and peaceful demonstration, there was a confrontation between Manasssas police officers and a smaller group of demonstrators. 

Glory Days Grill sustained some property damage and the state police were called in to protect the Manassas police station. There was also some looting at a nearby Walmart, but Keen said his officers did not deploy any tear gas or rubber bullets, and ultimately the demonstration cleared relatively peacefully. Four arrests were made at the Walmart by Prince William County police. 

“Our tactics were holding the line, we’re not going to deploy any gas or munitions because that’s what they’re looking for to justify more violence,” Keen told the council “They got tired of us and bored and began to disperse … All of us in law enforcement went home uninjured. No arrests, no protesters hurt or touched by us.”

Previous coverage

(14) comments

Sammy2020

I wish someone could explain what these protests are trying to accomplish. All I hear is we want justice or we want change, but I have yet to see any of these people propose anything meaningful to solve the supposed problem. Don’t whine for change if you don’t have anything specific to offer in that regard. So, what happens when the next black person is killed by a police officer, that’s not if, it’s when because it will happen again. Protesting for the sake of protesting serves no purpose. Also, rioters are not protestors and they should be met with force immediately, not days later, even if it means more body bags, regardless of color (as I have seen many non-blacks involved in this)!

Cultured2014

The accomplish nothing in the end..other than gaining hollow promises from politicians that they never follow through on

chazclem8892

Indeed. Perhaps you understand the frustrations of people, whether you know it or not. After hundreds of years of this stuff, you would think that EVERYBODY would be outraged that this country can't recognize and work to resolve this.

yellowz51

Hopefully the residents of the county are happy with their choice of political representation, both locally and at the state level. What you have done is turn this county further into a place that will harbor thugs and other trash. In the meantime, those in the middle class and up will be putting their houses and locally owned businesses up for sale further destroying the tax base. The net result is the next Prince Georges County, Maryland! Way to go Dems!

Citizen52

These children and young adults are just expressing their frustration and exercising their right to protest peacefully. Most of us have done it sometime in our lives and it is a good thing that we have that right. In a country of 330,000,000 people, you will never eliminate prejudice completely, but it is good to call out bad actors when a tragedy happens like this in Minneapolis. That was horrible. Looking at the statistics for the deaths of Black males across the US, I wish we’d protest just as much and focus upon the huge tragedy of the staggering number of Black on Black male deaths.

JustCalmDownFFS

Antifa knows they're so full of shit they have to sneak into someone else's protest to start enacting their little LA riot fantasies cuz they can't rally their own.

Antonio Marisol

I hope nobody that needed to get to a hospital was blocked from doing so as a result of this malfeasance by derelict of duty by county police.

Soily

Too bad Mrs. Clements is so ignorant. Trump never called the protesters thugs. He supported the protesters. He called the violent looters and anarchists thugs. But don't let facts get in front of the narrative. The ignorance of those living in leftist hellholes never ceases to amaze me and I blame the media more than anyone. The quality of life in Prince William County has deteriorated rapidly this year after democrats took over.

Biker0565

Agree with Soily completely. But, the voters of PWC are now deservedly getting exactly what they voted for...

These thugs, looters, and anarchist turds have a false sense of cowardly safety since they are able to wear their Covid-19 face masks as they feel they can't be identified... Cowardly scum...

timt

Trump supports the protesters? He sure showed his love and support for them last night as he had his thug squad physically push and tear gas and fire rubber bullets at the peaceful protesters outside the White House just so he could do a photo op. He in no way, shape or form supports the peaceful attempts to protest the murder of George Floyd, he's determined to make it worse by now wanting to throw the military against the protesters just like any other good dictator would. What a pitiful display by a very little person. He should go back to hiding in the WH bunker like the coward he is until this all gets resolved.

Zediculous

They were anything but peaceful and Trump doesn't make the calls on how to handle the rioters ... secret service and the capital police do.

timt

Wrong on both counts. The protesters were demonstrating peacefully....

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/01/867532070/trumps-unannounced-church-visit-angers-church-officials

....and Barr (one of the coward's henchmen) personally ordered the embarrassing hostilities against peaceful American citizens.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/06/02/george-floyd-protests-barr-promises-more-patrols-white-house/3124628001/

You should try going somewhere else besides fake Fawx News for your information.

chazclem8892

Rather than hide behind some anonymous username, I will admit up front that I am Charles Clements, the husband of Mrs. Clements, who was quoted in the article. If you had taken the time to carefully read the article, you wouldn't have misquoted the fact that it was our neighbor who called the protestors thugs, even before they had assembled. Nevertheless, one might easily believe that the neighbor took her cue from the president; after all, he was the first to use that term in this present context.

It is obvious that most of the infantile comments posted here and below have nothing to do with the betterment of this county or the country, else we'd focus away from the name calling and towards seeking solutions for our fellow residents. The right to peaceably assemble is a fundamental right in this country and is a vital tool to effecting positive change. If folks knew anything about their history, they'd know that the Boston Massacre, Gaspee Affair, and Boston Tea Party were all significant protest events that, while very ugly, served as foundational events in the history of this country's liberation from Britain.

Cultured2014

Im sure destroying property and jobs is in the spirit of our country. After the protests are over..what have you accomplished? Nothing. You are making an excuse for looting based on history...like we all gotta like it or something. I’m sure black communities are just raving they have no place to shop or work. I’m sure your words fall flat with them

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.