Thousands Of Protesters Gathered Outside The White House Last Night And Sang 'Lean On Me'

Thousands of people protesting the death of George Floyd gathered outside the White House on Wednesday evening and gave a “surreal, beautiful and peaceful” rendition of the Bill Withers classic, Lean On Me.

Holding their cellphones aloft in unison, the crowd in Washington DC’s Lafayette Square provided a stark contrast to the heavily militarised police presence guarding the White House.

Two nights earlier, US Park Police drove peaceful demonstrators from the area before Trump walked through the park to a church to hold up a Bible for cameras, in a move that was widely condemned as an opportune and divisive stunt.

Elsewhere, prosecutors on Wednesday charged all four Minneapolis police officers implicated in the death of Floyd, who was pinned by his neck to the street during an arrest caught on video, sparking nine days of nationwide protest and civil turmoil.

Derek Chauvin, arrested on Friday on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter, was charged with the more serious count of second-degree murder, Reuters reports.

The added charge, defined under Minnesota law as unintentionally causing another person’s death while committing a serious criminal offence, can carry a sentence of up to 40 years – 15 years longer than the maximum sentence for third-degree murder.

Chauvin, 44, was the white officer seen in widely circulated video footage on May 25 kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd gasped for air and repeatedly groaned: “Please, I can’t breathe,” before going motionless while bystanders shouted at police to let him up.

Floyd, who police suspected of trying to use a counterfeit $20 note to pay for cigarettes, was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly afterwards.


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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.