Group gathers for George Floyd protest in Willmar

A group of 15 walk the streets of Willmar to protest the death of George Floyd

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Locals display their signs while walking on Trott Ave in Willmar Saturday to protest the death of George Floyd, who died Monday night while in police custody. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — Amid a week’s worth of protests across the country, a group of 15 protestors took to the streets in Willmar Saturday afternoon as a response to the death of George Floyd.

In an event that has caused peaceful protests as well as riots and unrest, Floyd, a St. Louis Park resident, was killed while in police custody in front of a grocery store in Minneapolis Monday.

The protesters walked in and around downtown Willmar with signs reading “Black Lives Matter,” “Justice For Floyd,” and “I Can’t Breathe,” the words Floyd spoke moments before his death.

Hamdia Dayib, who is a student at Ridgewater College studying law enforcement, disapproved of how the police handled Floyd.

“This is not what the training looks like,” Dayib said. “This is not what being a cop looks like.”


Monitoring the chaotic scenes, particularly from nearby Minneapolis, throughout the course of the week, Dayib says helped organize Saturday’s protest after receiving a text from a friend that lives in the Twin Cities.

The men and women that joined Dayib were of various races.

“The reason why we are here is because we have to support each other,” Dayib said. “We can’t just say ‘this is your problem or this is my problem.’ We are all in this together. We are one community.

“It is very beautiful. This is the face of Willmar.”

During the protest, several cars drove by honking their horns in support of the gathering. However, there were others who voiced their objections.

“We’ve seen so many cars drive by right here saying (expletive) you, but we don’t care,” Dayib said. “There’s not one thing that will make me let go and come off the issues. We have to do this together.”

Earlier in the day, Jake’s Pizza posted on its Facebook page of the possibility of protest taking place. In a post with more than 300 shares, nearly 250 reactions and more than 40 comments at 6 p.m., the pizza establishment pleaded for the protests to go on peacefully.

“I don’t want to destroy my hometown,” Dayib said. “It is very sad to me, seeing Minneapolis like this. I watched (the coverage) last night and it was very sad to see my home like this. But I want change. I don’t want any damage to my hometown.”


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