Celebrities, musicians and political leaders gathered in front of George Floyd's golden casket Thursday for a fiery memorial service for the man whose death at the hands of police sparked global protests, with a civil rights leader declaring it is time for black people to demand, "Get your knee off our necks!"
In Minneapolis, Floyd's attorney told mourners he would find justice for the 46-year-old, who died during a 25 May arrest when a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
The day of remembrance capped more than a week of largely peaceful but raucous protests, accompanied by civil unrest that prompted dozens of cities to impose overnight curfews and the mobilization of the National Guard in several states.
A new March on Washington was announced Thursday from the Minneapolis sanctuary where George Floyd was eulogized. With many of Minnesota's top elected leaders in the room, along with members of Congress, the service included strong calls for meaningful changes in policing and the criminal justice system.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said the date for the mass gathering will be August 28, the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" that further energized the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
The civil rights leader from NY said it's time "to restore and recommit that dream to stand up, because just like at one era we had to fight slavery, another era we had to fight Jim Crow, another era we dealt with voting rights".
Three of the four Minneapolis police officers who arrested Floyd for allegedly passing a counterfeit bill made their first court appearance to face charges of aiding and abetting his murder.
"At the end of the day, my brother's gone, but the Floyd name lives on".
Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo dropped to a knee as the hearse bearing Floyd's remains arrived for the service.
"George, he was like a general", brother Philonise Floyd said.
With placards reading "black lives matter", protesters chanted "no justice, no peace".
Sharpton spoke Thursday at a memorial service for Floyd in Minneapolis, the first of six services for Floyd in three cities.
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George Floyd was remembered Thursday as a devoted father and family man who did not deserve to die while in Minneapolis police custody.
The change in mood reflected a determination voiced by many protesters and organizers in recent days to transform outrage over Floyd's death into a renewed civil rights movement, seeking reforms to America's criminal justice system.
Low-flying choppers were also used in an apparent show of force above protesters in Washington, DC on Monday night.
"This is a very seismic moment, and someday I'm going to have a kid, and he or she or they are going to ask me what I did during the uprising of 2020, during the American spring", said Nana Mensah, a writer in her 30s from Brooklyn.
In the USA, where protests had been marked by bouts of lawlessness since last week, relative quiet prevailed for a third straight night Thursday, a day after prosecutors charged the three other officers at the scene and filed a new, more serious count of murder against Chauvin.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said that this is an incredibly challenging time for the country and for all the citizens they serve. In cellphone video seen around the world, Floyd can be heard saying, "I can't breathe", while bystanders yelled at the officers to ease up. His death prompted largely peaceful mass demonstrations that have continued across the USA, though some have devolved into violence and looting. It has to stop. "We pray this prayer", he said, adding, "We march on until victory is won".
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