On June 9, George Floyd was laid to rest in his hometown of Houston, Texas. The previous day, an estimated 6,400 mourners had waited in the scorching heat leading to the Fountain of Praise Church to pay their final respects to the man from Houston’s historically Black 3rd ward neighborhood. George Floyd’s vicious murder at the hands of Minneapolis police shook the entire world, but it hit Houston especially hard as the city where Floyd spent the vast majority of his life.
Just a week prior to his funeral, more than 60,000 people took to the streets in downtown Houston to demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the many other Black people whose lives have been cut short at the hands of the police. Marching across downtown Houston from Discovery Green to City Hall, protestors chanted, “Black Lives Matter,” “What’s his name? George Floyd” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police!”
After a number of speeches by relatives of George Floyd along with several local politicians, protesters marched further around the city. People of all races, overwhelmingly young people, chanted at Houston police department Chief Art Acevedo, “We’re tired! We’re fed up!” A contingent of about a thousand protesters including marched miles from downtown into west Houston. Drivers stopped in traffic due to the marching honked in a show of solidarity and shouted, “Justice for George!”
Thousands of demonstrators remained downtown while others marched. A massive crowd was told by police at around 7 pm, “This is no longer a peaceful protest,” before police began arresting people en masse. Though police claimed demonstrators had gotten out of hand, video footage shows police approaching protesters who were on the sidewalk and violently arresting them. They did this despite the fact that no curfew had ever been imposed in the city of Houston. Nearly all of the hundreds of protesters arrested were given the bogus misdemeanor charge of obstructing the roadway. Jailed protesters were held for more than 24 hours before being released on $100 bail.
The death of George Floyd and the violent police response to protesters demanding justice demonstrates that the system of policing in the United States cannot simply be reformed. The capitalist repressive state needs to be overturned and a new, anti-racist state should replace it to truly serve the people.
Justice for George Floyd and all victims of racist police terror!