NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Hundreds of people descended on Downtown Norfolk and Fort Monroe in Hampton Friday evening in protest of the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a Minneapolis Police officer earlier this week.
Black Lives Matter 757 organized two gatherings in Hampton Roads Friday called “blackout757.” Both began at 7:57 p.m. One was at Fort Monroe in Hampton near the pavilion, and another was in Martin Luther King Jr. Monument Park and the surrounding area in Norfolk.
The protests eventually moved to Interstate 64 around 9 p.m., when protesters shut down the lanes near Mallory Street in Hampton.
The group went live on Facebook showing the Hampton location filled with people, many holding up their phones and signs.
ABOVE: WAVY viewer video shows protesters in Downtown Norfolk.
The signs read “Black Lives Matter and” “No justice, no peace, no police brutality.”
A livestream on the Black Lives Matter 757 Facebook page showed protesters walking eastbound near the HRBT down the entrance ramp off Mallory Street.
A tweet from 511 Hampton Roads around 9 p.m. said all eastbound lanes on Interstate 64 were blocked. Police confirmed an “incident” going eastbound shut down the tunnel. Both directions of traffic were released by 10:10 p.m.
Protesters could be seen on the livestream shutting down the westbound lanes of the interstate as well.
The protesters shut down the interstate for nearly nine minutes starting around 9 p.m. to represent how long Floyd went without air.
During those nine minutes, protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe” while standing among the stopped cars on I-64 near the Mallory Street exit.
“I can’t breathe” were some of Floyd’s last words, which were captured on a widely-circulated video on the internet.
After stopping traffic, protesters gathered on Mallory Street and chanted “No peace, no sleep” followed by a moment of silence remembering those who died at the hands of police, from suicide or from gun violence.
After shutting down the interstate, protesters went to Peninsula Town Center to continue the protest.
By 11:20 p.m., Hampton Police were playing a message on a loudspeaker around the intersection of Power Plant Way and Mercury Boulevard saying the gathering had been determined to be unlawful.
Police asked the group to disperse. The road was also blocked to traffic. Some officers could be seen with shields and helmets.
The crowd began to disperse around 12:30 a.m.
- RELATED: Hampton Roads police departments respond to death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police custody