‘We Are All Together As One:' Peaceful Protest in Norwich

People marched through the streets of Downtown Norwich Tuesday afternoon, chanting 'black lives matter' and 'no justice, no peace'.

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A group of people filled the lawn outside of Norwich City Hall Tuesday, calling for an end to violence and racism in their community and across the country.

“I don’t want to die without seeing peace in the world," said Makayla Vaughters, one of the high school students who organized Tuesday's protest. "I think it is important for the young ones to come together.”

The protest was organized by Vaughters, her sister, Trinity Cote, and other high school students, but it was supported by the city. Mayor Peter Nystrom, Chief of Police Patrick Daley and other city leaders were all on hand at the protest, supporting the cause.

Photos: ‘We Are All Together As One’; Peaceful Protest in Norwich

People of all ages and backgrounds gathered at Norwich City Hall for the afternoon gathering. The organizers read the names of several people including George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after pleading for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for several minutes.

"I have cried over these videos. These are horrible videos to have to watch," said Vaughter.

According to Cote, the protest was organized to fight for an end to violence and racism, to call for justice after Floyd's death and to call on the community to unite.

"We are all together as one and to stand up for what you believe in," said Cote.

Some Norwich business owners displayed signs in their storefronts Tuesday to show that they support the protest. The signs read, "We STAND with you!"

“Together we all rise and that is important for a business, that is very important for a community," said Matthew DuTrumble, owner of Craftsman Cliff Roasters. "We stand for that, 1,000 percent, and we believe in justice for everybody."

The protest started at Norwich City Hall, people then walked to the Norwich Police Department, chanting in the streets, "no justice, no peace," and "black lives matter."

Police followed the protesters and blocked off roads as they traveled.

The Norwich Police Department issued a statement Tuesday in reaction to the video of George Floyd's death, saying that the behavior shown by the officers in Minneapolis reflects failures in police tactics, training and judgement. The statement adds that all of the officers are "sickened" and "appalled" by the actions of the officers in Minneapolis.

"George Floyd’s death could have and should have been prevented.  We as a Department are as angry as the community," Chief of Police Daley and officers of the Norwich Police Department shared in the statement.

Protesters marched back to city hall and held a moment of silence for George Floyd. The group was silent for several minutes, as dozens of people knelt down to remember Floyd, including police officers.

Photos: ‘We Are All Together As One’; Peaceful Protest in Norwich

“It is so sad that people are scared for their lives," Samira Burlingame McCord, a high school student who attended the protest, said through tears.

The protest stayed peaceful, which was the goal.

"To show that Norwich is different and we are united and there can be change," said Vaughters.

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