Students in downtown Naperville stage a sit-in

  • Protesters kneel before Naperville police dressed in riot gear Thursday at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Washington Street.

      Protesters kneel before Naperville police dressed in riot gear Thursday at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Washington Street. Harry Hitzeman | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville City Council member Benjamin White addresses a crowd of several hundred people Thursday afternoon during a sit-in at the downtown Riverwalk organized by Naperville Central High School senior Sophia Davila and resident India Smith-Johnson. "We're at a pivotal point right now," White said. "Let's keep pushing forward."

      Naperville City Council member Benjamin White addresses a crowd of several hundred people Thursday afternoon during a sit-in at the downtown Riverwalk organized by Naperville Central High School senior Sophia Davila and resident India Smith-Johnson. "We're at a pivotal point right now," White said. "Let's keep pushing forward." Harry Hitzeman | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville City Council member Benjamin White addresses a crowd of several hundred people Thursday afternoon during a sit-in at the downtown Riverwalk.

      Naperville City Council member Benjamin White addresses a crowd of several hundred people Thursday afternoon during a sit-in at the downtown Riverwalk. Harry Hitzeman | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/4/2020 7:07 PM

Protesters, many of them Naperville high school students, gathered at the downtown Riverwalk Thursday afternoon for a sit-in to target police brutality and racism and to support Black Lives Matter.

Several hundred people wore black and carried signs reading "I can't breathe" and bearing the names of people murdered by police.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Benjamin White, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and Naperville city councilman, encouraged the students to protest, vote, and to report and fight back against racism.

"Our country was formed by protest and people being upset because they've been treated unjustly. As bad as this has been, it's an opportunity to bring our community together," White said. "The events that happened with George Floyd should make everyone in this country extremely sick."

The crowd proceeded to the intersection of Washington Street and Chicago Avenue, where demonstrators chanted for passing drivers, and took a knee in silence and raised their fists in unison.

Naperville police in riot gear and National Guard members stood at the crosswalks to ensure the crowd left at 5:30 p.m.

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