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Boston police: Only 2 arrested as thousands peacefully protest death of George Floyd

One man is facing charges of assault and battery on a police officer.

People hold signs as they march in Boston on Tuesday. Charles Krupa / AP

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Boston police say just two individuals were arrested Tuesday in Boston as thousands of people gathered in Franklin Park to peacefully demonstrate against the killing of Black people by law enforcement. 

As of 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, the department stated it was “happy to confirm” there were just the two arrests made, having spent the hours before urging peace and safety during the event. 

Police said Cameron Gosselin, 34, of Weymouth was arrested and charged with assault and battery on a police officer and Elliot Ficklin, 25, of Boston was arrested and charged with breaking and entering a commercial building.

The peaceful event began with a “die-in” where protesters laid down in the middle of Blue Hill Avenue for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee onto George Floyd’s neck, leading to his death last week. The demonstrators then marched across Franklin Park for a rally and vigil in memory of Floyd and other Black Americans killed by police. 

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In a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh thanked those who participated peacefully, saying he was proud of “how Boston honored the memory of George Floyd and stood up against racism and injustice.”

“Demonstrators once again exercised their free speech rights passionately and peacefully, making an impact on all who witnessed, myself included,” the mayor wrote. “I want to thank everyone who made their voice heard, especially the young people who hold our future in their hands. I also want to recognize our Boston Police officers for demonstrating professionalism, compassion, and solidarity with our community.”

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After the official event concluded, groups of protesters continued to march through the city, gathering outside Boston police headquarters, the Forest Hills MBTA Station, and on the steps of the Statehouse downtown. 

In several instances, police officers knelt in solidarity with the protesters as the department Twitter account urged participants to “remain respectful, responsible and committed to safety in our city.”

“Our officers are there to keep people safe,” the department said after the end of the official event. “The intention is not to invite, incite or provoke violence.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. 

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