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Demonstrators brave heat for miles-long march through Madison

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A woman and her daughter are handing out Popcicles to protesters waiting in the heat and a caravan preparing to leave the Dane County Jail
A woman and her daughter are handing out Popcicles to protesters waiting in the heat and a caravan preparing to leave the Dane County Jail
The Defend Black Life demonstrators' caravan is now moving around the Capitol Square in Madison.
The Defend Black Life demonstrators' caravan is now moving around the Capitol Square in Madison.

MADISON (WKOW) -- Demonstrators braved heat and humidity for a miles-long march Tuesday afternoon that went from downtown to John Nolen Drive and back to the near east side.

While marchers were making their way through the city on foot, a caravan of vehicles drove to the westbound Beltline and slowed traffic to a snail's pace.

The protest began about 1 p.m. at the Dane County Jail to continue the Defend Black Life week of action organized by Freedom Inc.

A coalition of groups continues to advocate for defunding of the police department, eliminating officers from schools and greater community control over police.

Organizers called on Sheriff Dave Mahoney to move inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 to the hospital rather than being segregated from the rest of the inmates.

"Free 'em all," the group chanted.

The Week of Action is part of a nationwide effort by the Movement for Black Lives calling on local officials and demanding justice for those who have been killed by police.

As protesters prepared to get in their vehicles to begin a caravan, one woman handed out Popcicles in the 90-degree heat.

The caravan of about 40 vehicles then headed to the westbound Beltline where they blocked traffic about 2:30 p.m.

Today's action followed a similar protest Monday that began about noon at the Madison Police Station following a news conference by Freedom Inc, Urban Triage, and Party for Socialism and Liberation.

Several hundred people joined in the peaceful march down to John Nolen Drive.

The protests were sparked by the killing last week of George Floyd in Minneapolis while handcuffed by police that have sparked outrage and demonstrations nationwide.

Demonstrators remained on John Nolen Drive through rush hour.

While the demonstrators were on John Nolen, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway also came to listen and show support.

"We're going to do everything we can to help," she said.

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Dan Plutchak

Social Media and Digital Content Manager, 27 News

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