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Peaceful Protests In Topeka And Lawrence Call For An End To Racism, Police Violence

Nomin Ujiyediin
Kansas News Service
A protestor raises his fist at a protest against police brutality and racism in downtown Lawrence, Kansas on May 31, 2020.

Across Kansas over the weekend, hundreds of people joined demonstrations against police violence and racism — all largely peaceful.

They followed days of protests in other American cities that turned violent and drew tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray from armored police.

Across the country, protests are being held after the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. But they're also remembering Breonna Taylor, a Louisville, Kentucky, woman who was fatally shot by police in her home.

The Kansas News Service went to protests in Topeka on Saturday and Lawrence on Sunday. This is what it looked like.

Topeka, Saturday May 30

Nomin Ujiyediin
Demonstrators march around the Kansas Capitol in Topeka to protest police violence following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Hundreds gathered in front of the Kansas Capitol to chant, march and share stories of personal experiences with systemic racism and law enforcement. Many invoked the name of Dominique White, a Topeka man who was fatally shot by police in 2017.

Nomin Ujiyediin
A racially diverse group of a few hundred people attended the Topeka rally, which was organized by community members.
Nomin Ujiyediin
Attendees of the protest shouted "Black Lives Matter," "no justice, no peace" and other slogans.
Nomin Ujiyediin
At the end of the protest, people stood at the base of the Capitol steps and shared their personal experiences with racism and police violence in Kansas and other places.

Lawrence, Sunday, May 31

On Sunday evening, several hundred people marched up and down Massachusetts Street, Lawrence's main business district. Protesters carried signs and shouted the names of Black people who have died at the hands of police.

Nomin Ujiyediin
Several hundred protesters marched on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, Kansas. They ended the march at South Park, in front of the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center.
Nomin Ujiyediin
Protesters marched up and down Massachusetts Street for a few hours, carrying signs and chanting the names of people who died from police violence.
Nomin Ujiyediin
At several points in the evening, protesters raised their hands or knelt to the ground to protest discrimination in policing.
Nomin Ujiyediin
A person attending the protest lights a cigarette off of a burning American flag.

Nomin Ujiyediin
Some attendees spoke to the crowd about their own experiences with discrimination from police officers.

Nomin Ujiyediin reports on criminal justice and social welfare for the Kansas News Service. You can email her at nomin (at) kcur (dot) org and follow her on Twitter @NominUJ.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to

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