Justice for Breonna: Hundreds march, celebrate 27th birthday for Breonna Taylor in Louisville

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Monday, June 8, 2020

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Hundreds of people marched against police brutality Saturday and Sunday in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, while many more joined a vigil for Breonna Taylor, a black woman shot by police in her home nearly three months ago.

News outlets reported marchers stopped to kneel in a symbolic memorial of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck after he pleaded for air while handcuffed.

Protesters have been demanding justice for Taylor, who was killed in her Louisville home in March.

The 26-year-old EMT was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door as they attempted to enforce a search warrant.

No drugs were found in the home.

After the morning march, hundreds met at Metro Hall to remember Taylor's life and release blue, purple and white balloons in her honor. She would have been 27 years old Friday.

WATCH: Hundreds release balloons in honor of Breonna Taylor's 27th birthday

During a news conference in Louisville, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called for Congress to pass an anti-lynching law and for lawmakers to eliminate certain protections for police officers from civil lawsuits.

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Jackson called for lawmakers, ministers, community organizations and corporations to address social disparities that work against minorities, "not just on police, in housing, health care, jobs, income, access to capital."

"The disparities are great," Jackson said.

The civil rights leader was in Louisville to meet with Mayor Greg Fischer and Taylor's family. He later joined the Taylor memorial.

Jackson was scheduled to speak at a church service Sunday.

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In Tennessee, hundreds in Nashville dealt with temperatures above 90 degrees as they protested on Broadway, the downtown street lined with country music-themed bars and restaurants. Police in riot gear stood shoulder to shoulder in front of businesses as onlookers inside bars took smart phone video of kneeling protesters.

Four people were treated for heat-related illnesses at the rallies, the Nashville Fire Department said on Twitter.

And in Memphis, protesters gathered at the I Am A Man Plaza at the historic Clayborn Temple before embarking on a march through downtown. Sanitation workers who went on strike in Memphis in 1968 used the church as their headquarters. They put the "I Am A Man" slogan on protest signs and literature.

Other peaceful protests were reported in the Memphis suburb of Collierville and in Cookeville, east of Nashville.

Large protests also took place across the U.S. and overseas, including in London, Paris, Berlin and Sydney, collectively producing perhaps the largest one-day mobilization since Floyd's death May 25 in Minneapolis.