Students from GW and Georgetown, American and Howard universities gathered outside the White House on Monday night to protest a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August.
The student protesters led chants, sang hymns and carried signs protesting the decision as they marched from U Street to the White House. About 200 flocked to the demonstrations outside the White House and shouted chants like “Hands up, don’t shoot” while some held up signs that read “stop racist police terror” and “Justice for Mike Brown.”
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Demonstrators then held a moment of silence that lasted four and a half minutes to honor Brown, whose body was not moved from the street for four and a half hours after he was shot and killed.
GW sophomore Frank Fritz said he came to the protest to “stand with the people of Ferguson.”
“GW has always stressed that we take what we learn and put it into practice,” he said. “It’s up to students to finally stand up against racism and fear that captures this society that allows black youths to be gunned down.”
Protesters then sang hymns and shouted chants for about 30 minutes before at least 100 people lay down on the ground in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, chanting “Black lives matter.”
By midnight, most of the protesters had left the White House, with many headed to the Capitol building. Some stayed to continue singing hymns.
Another GW student, junior Nicole Martin, said she came to the White House to experience firsthand the protests she had seen on the news.
“This is one of those moments to see it all right before our eyes,” she said.
Brandon Lee contributed reporting.