Andrew Ringle, Executive Editor
Organizers of “Virginia’s 5,000 Man March” said in a statement Friday that police will not be leading the event, which is scheduled to begin Saturday at 1 p.m. on Monument Avenue.
Many on social media have criticized the march, saying it was co-opted by the Richmond Police Department. On June 7, the march’s organizer’s Facebook page stated Richmond police would escort the march, followed by a convoy of motorcycles and ambulances.
— Mark Ryan (@RichmondDoc) June 13, 2020
A Facebook post on Friday night from “RVA’s 1000 Man March,” the event’s organizers, stated that police offered to close main roads for the group after reservations were secured for more than 6,000 demonstrators.
“It’s crazy the narratives people will create,” the statement read. “We are trying to remain professional but, in all honesty this is a march to STOP RACISM ON ALL PLANES, ACROSS ALL SPECTRUMS!”
Tavares Floyd, the cousin of George Floyd, is scheduled to speak at the event. George Floyd died in police custody last month after an officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes, sparking protests nationwide.
Some said the “5,000 Man March” is not one of these protests because it does not have a list of demands in response to police violence. The march’s Facebook page states that each person who marches makes a “silent pledge” to advocate against racism, discrimination and hate.
Not everyone has the time or luxury to be super plugged into #Richmond activist Twitter, but folks should be aware that this event is partly organized by @RichmondPolice. This will not be a protest against police violence. It won't be a protest at all. It's just a long walk. #RVA https://t.co/FsRuScX44d
— JLJ says #Alexsis4Mayor (@JLJLovesRVA) June 13, 2020
this is an EVENT; NOT A PROTEST! They aren’t protesting, demanding, ANYTHING! They are just co-opting with Police to attempt to slow down change, DO NOT PARTICIPATE! This is specifically in support of “blue lives” https://t.co/pu0QtneALL
— poptoadts (@kivaliens) June 13, 2020
The event’s organizers responded Saturday morning to more than 50 comments on their post, saying they would not address further “negative comments” regarding police involvement.
“For all who aren’t comfortable,” the comment read, “we completely understand you sitting this one out.”