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Rally and peaceful protest ends in Lafayette

Community stood in solidarity with Minneapolis
Posted at 9:58 AM, May 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-31 21:55:37-04

UPDATE: The protest has ended.

The UL Student Action and Organizing Committee along with the local chapter of the NAACP and Move the Mindset hosted a peaceful rally on Sunday.

Organizers said they want to stand in solidarity with the people of Minneapolis against police brutality and racial profiling. These protests and rallies across the state come after the death of George Floyd on Monday.

In the video shot by a bystander, an officer identified as Derek Chauvin is seen pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck while the man gasps for air with his face against the pavement. Floyd then lost consciousness and was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Chauvin has since been arrested and charged with Floyd's murder.

KATC will air live coverage of the Lafayette rally which will be happening at the corner of Johnston Street and University Avenue from 11:00 until noon.

Watch the coverage on air, our KATC mobile and streaming apps. For more on how to download out KATC mobile App click here. For those wishing to download the KATC streaming app on their smart television devices click here.

We will also provide live stream of this and other rallies and protests around the country on our Facebook page.

A livestream of the event can be viewed below. The live coverage is expected to begin just before 11:00 a.m.

The Lafayette Police Department says they are aware of the rally and are taking precautions. A police spokesperson added that previous protests in Lafayette have remained peaceful and he's hopeful the rally Sunday will be peaceful and the group's message will be heard.

For those going to the rally, organizers are asking that masks be worn and social distancing practiced due to concerns of COVID-19.

Read more on the rally and what organizers have said about the planned rally here.

UL President Joseph Savoie issued a letter to the University family, commending student organizers on holding a peaceful protest:

"Dear members of the University family,
George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade.

Their tragic deaths – and those of countless others – are reminders that our nation has much work to do to address discrimination, intolerance and other inexcusable barriers to social justice that have burdened us for far too long.

Universities are a place where that work can occur. Indeed, they are a place where it must occur.

It is the University’s responsibility to model principles of civility, respect and understanding for both its campus family and its wider community. Moreover, it is our duty to embody inclusivity and embrace diversity, and to educate others about their power.

Today, our students exemplified these ideals.

Members of the Student Action and Organizing Committee led a community dialogue on campus about the basic human right that all people – regardless of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or ethnicity – have to live in freedom and security.

These students confronted the sadness, pain and outrage they feel about the events of the past week with clarity and thoughtfulness. They answered insular hate with the diverse voice of which this institution is so proud and from which we draw so much strength.

Our students demonstrated civic engagement and community leadership today, and I applaud them.

Moreover, they showed that the path to binding our nation’s wounds – no matter how deep, how historic and how painful – can be illuminated through conversation rather than violence."

The student organizers posted this response to Savoie's statement:

We appreciate Dr. Savoie's kind words, but we take issue with his mischaracterization of our message in order to demonize other protesters.

We live in a society of inherent racial violence and to use our resistance to demonize freedom fighters is the work of white supremacy and white power. We will not allow words to be put into our mouths that disempower the movement for justice and Black Lives.

Here are some photos from the demonstration:

Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory was at the protest with Interim Police Chief Scott Morgan. He also issued a statement just before the protest began.

In it, he said his thoughts and prayers, as well as those of this community, are with Floyd's family and the people of Minneapolis.

"The men and women of law enforcement across our country put their lives on the line every day to keep us all safe. When we see evidence of such a blatant violation of that sacred trust, it is shocking and for many of us it becomes a source of outrage," the statement reads. "Those who would exploit this righteous anger to sow mayhem in the streets of our cities are also a source of outrage. The right to peacefully protest injustice at the hands of government is perhaps the most deeply held right of all. It's at the very heart of who we are as Americans. To abuse and defile that right by multiplying the Floyd tragedy many times across our country, can't be justified."
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