PROTESTS IN ANCHORAGE
Following the death of George Floyd, the nation has risen in demonstrations asking for justice to be served. For over a week there have been protests worldwide; out of the national uprising there has been community unrest never seen before. Some of these demonstrations have turned into violence between the police and civilians, while others have remained peaceful. The city of Anchorage has had five protests since May 30th; all five sent a powerful message while remaining nonviolent.
Two of these protests were held on May 30th, one was organized by 16-year-old Markus Vinson. Several hundred people came out to protest downtown where the event was attended mostly by young people and high schoolers. About an hour later another protest began in the REI parking lot. The organizer of this event was well known community leader Jasmin Smith. There were several community activists and pastors speaking to the crowd of nearly 1000 people.
Another weekend of protests began on June 5th at the MLK Memorial. The first to start off the weekend was a protest for young Daelyn Polu. He was killed during a traffic stop early this year by an APD officer. His family put on the protest to bring awareness to the community about his case, as they believe there are still many unanswered questions regarding the incident. Immediately after this protest another started. This one was to highlight George Floyd and police brutality. Nearly 1000 people showed up and walked through downtown Anchorage, voicing their anger but keeping it civil.
The next evening on June 6th, the Party for Socialism and Liberation Anchorage (PSL) held a rally and march at MLK Memorial. The march was in solidarity with the protests in the Lower 48, in opposition to President Trump’s use of the military to put down protests, and finally testimonials from Anchorage residents who have experienced negative interactions with the Anchorage Police Department (APD). About 1000 people attended the march, and took the streets without a permit, which is a rarity in Anchorage. Protesters marched directly to APD headquarters where several speakers from the Transgender and Polynesian communities spoke, including Desmond David-Pitts the brother of Daelyn Polu. The march then proceeded to Town Square where PSL Anchorage listed demands for police reform. The march ended in the park strip.