Northborough protests police brutality, expanding local cluster of demonstrations

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By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer

Three protesters hold signs and wave to passing cars after the end of the speaking schedule of the June 6 protest.

Northborough – Roughly 400 protesters rose early and braved the heat June 6 to attend a sprawling Black Lives Matter demonstration on the town common.

Organized by local high school students, the event filled the entire common for at least two hours as speakers addressed the crowd and as others lined West Main St. holding signs and waving to passing cars.

“We live in such a privileged community,” said organizer Sarah Saeed of her motivation to assemble the protest. “We needed to do something to show our support and spread awareness.”

The event joined an ever growing list of protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. The death of Floyd, an unarmed black man, renewed mass public anger over police brutality, triggering demonstrations in cities across the country.

Graphic accurate as of 12:00pm, June 6. | by Dakota Antelman

Entirely peaceful protests in the region have continually grown in size particularly in the past week. Just two days before Northborough gathered, twin events in Grafton and Marlborough drew triple digit crowds filling the Grafton High School lawn and Marlborough’s Union Common respectively.

Unprecedented in size and frequency relative to each other, these protests come largely led by young people, a fact Saeed was quick to note, June 6.

“We have a lot of young people who want to make their voices heard and who are very involved in activism,” she said. “We wanted to make sure they had that spot to do that activism here in Northborough. This is a safe space for that.”

Looking out at a sea of protesters who were even joined by Northborough police in kneeling, at one point, to recognize deaths due to systemic police brutality, Saeed said she’s proud of what she and her community accomplished with its protest. This, though, is not the end, for her.

“Seeing all the people show up and knowing that they really care and support this cause is amazing,” she said. “Our actions need to continue beyond showing up to the protest today but it’s really awesome to see this.”

(Photos by/Dakota Antelman)

Three women walk onto the Northborough Common carrying signs.
A man carries a sign across West Main St. to the protest on the Northborough Common. As they expected a large crowd, police banned on-street parking on several roads downtown, forcing some protesters to walk several blocks to the gathering.
Protesters hold signs while waving to passing cars along the Northborough Common.
Parents hold signs while kids stand nearby, some playing with hula hoops, early in the protest in downtown Northborough, June 6.
Protest organizer Sarah Saeed speaks during her event June 6.
A protester holds a sign while watching speakers address the crowd around him June 6.
A lone protester overlooks the sprawling crowd before her June 6.
An event speaker addresses the crowd before her, particularly eulogizing victims of historical lynchings ranging from Emmett Till, to Travon Martin.
Police officers tend to a protester who fainted due to high heat on the Northborough Common.
Four protesters kneel in remembrance of George Floyd and other victims of police brutality.
Two Northborough police officers kneel in solidarity with protesters and in remembrance of victims of police brutality.