Protests are underway in Washington on Thursday for the seventh consecutive day. Here are some significant developments:

• Thunderstorms hit Washington Thursday evening, sending many protesters looking for shelter. But as the night wore on, other demonstrators were undeterred and began marching from Lafayette Square to the Lincoln Memorial. Late Thursday, two National Guardsmen were taken to a hospital after a lightning strike near Lafayette.

• The American Civil Liberties Union and Black Lives Matter filed a lawsuit accusing President Trump and his administration of authorizing an “unprovoked and frankly criminal attack” on demonstrators to enable a photo op of the president holding a Bible in front of the St. John’s Episcopal Church.

• Overall, the day’s protests have been peaceful, and the mood festive, around parts of downtown Washington. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) lifted the curfew after a sixth night of demonstrations ended with zero arrests and no police injuries or damage to police property.

• While eulogizing George Floyd on Thursday, the Rev. Al Sharpton announced plans for an Aug. 28 demonstration in the nation’s capital on the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington.

June 5, 2020 at 12:25 AM EDT

Lightning strike injures National Guardsmen near White House

Two National Guardsmen were hurt about midnight Thursday night after a lightning strike in Lafayette Square.

The guardsmen were taken to a hospital with serious injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening, according to Vito Maggiolo, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department.

The incident happened on a night when storms intermittently dropped rain and blew hefty winds across the city for hours Thursday.

There were no immediate reports of injuries among the hundreds of protesters who continued to march and demonstrate in the weather.

By Clarence Williams
June 4, 2020 at 11:48 PM EDT

As ‘I Have A Dream’ speech broadcast near MLK memorial, 100 protesters kneel

The rain had granted reprieve around 11 p.m. as about a hundred protesters gathered at the base of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

The soaring words of his “I Have A Dream” speech poured out of a loudspeaker, King’s voice filling the silence it created.

The protesters knelt, raised their fists, and listened.

“One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land,” King said.

The crowd joined to recite the final words: “free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”

A voice rang out from the back: “Are we really?”

Mahadi Lawal, 26, Nigerian first generation immigration, told a crowd gathered at the MLK memorial to meditate on the words of the slain civil rights leader and not give up.

“Chill and relax,” he urged them. “Take a moment to digest what we just heard.”

“For the last couple of days what we’ve been doing, let it settle in,” he said. “It’s not the end. We’re going to be doing this for weeks.”

Protesters, he said, need to keep pushing and keep marching — not for one outcome, but for a change in the entire justice system.

“We’re not doing this so two, three or four or 20 cops to go to jail. The whole system needs to change!”

And at 11:15 p.m., the rain returned and crowd stood up and kept marching.

By Marissa Lang, Clarence Williams and Samantha Schmidt
June 4, 2020 at 11:30 PM EDT

‘You’re supposed to protect and save us,’ woman tells officer at Lincoln Memorial

As about 200 people took a knee at the Lincoln Memorial at 10:30 p.m., Asialon Ware stood up at the front.

Before a silent crowd, she spoke to a U.S. Park Police officer posted at the monument, telling him about a recent day when her young daughter asked about George Floyd’s death: “Mommy, why did police do that to that man?”

Ware, a 34-year-old mother of two from the District, told the officer that she worried about her husband, who is returning to work tomorrow in a door-to-door sales job.

“I live every day with fear in my heart as a black woman every day that my husband leaves out, just like your wife, y’alls wives have fear in their hearts,” Ware said. “I have a fear that my husband could be in a ditch or die.”

“You’re supposed to protect and save us. How would you feel? Would you like your wife to have that conversation with your children?” she went on, crying as people filmed her. “I carry a bigger burden on my shoulders.”

The white officer, Capt. Jeffrey Schneider, stood stoic, blinking as he chewed his gum.

“I’m here fighting, I’m not just living with the fear,” she added, as the crowd cheered. “I’m fighting against the fear, too.”

Schneider said he was there to protect their right to free speech.

Several protesters got up and left in frustration, complaining that the officer’s answer seemed robotic.

By Samantha Schmidt
June 4, 2020 at 11:18 PM EDT

‘Who’s next?’ Mayor Bowser says of growing federal presence during D.C. protests

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said people in other areas should pay attention to the growing presence of federal law enforcement during demonstrations in the District, asking, “Who’s to say that it won’t be another state next?”

During an appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show, Bowser said the District’s lack of statehood means it does not have two senators who can fight on its behalf. It also means the federal government “can encroach on our city streets in the name of protecting federal assets, and that’s what’s been done here,” she said during the interview on MSNBC.

The mayor said no one can remember when the District’s already limited home rule power was challenged so much by the federal government, “especially with something so important as policing.” She warned it could be harbinger of federal action elsewhere.

“They’re moving on us hard and strong right now … so who’s next?” Bowser said.

“Who’s to say that it won’t be another state next?” she said later.

The mayor echoed her comment in a tweet after her appearance on the show.

April Bethea contributed to this report.

By Washington Post Staff
June 4, 2020 at 11:07 PM EDT

Hundreds of protesters stop traffic on Constitution Avenue as they march toward Lincoln Memorial

Drenched and undeterred by thunderstorms, several hundred protesters stopped traffic on Constitution Avenue around 10:15 p.m. Thursday night as they marched from Lafayette Square to the Lincoln Memorial.

Police were nowhere to be seen as the chanting crowd blocked cars and shouting at drivers to “turn around!”

“We gotta block the whole road!” a demonstrator yelled. “Spread out, spread out!”

Cars caught in the wave of demonstrators flashed their hazards and slowed to a walking pace.

Many turned around, away from the crowd.

“We can do this all night!” the protesters chanted.

Fredrick Brown, 24, of Columbia Heights, peeked in car windows and asked drivers where they were going as he brought up the rear of the march.

He was worried about cars being so close to those marching, he said, and wondered where the police were.

“I’m going to say this as a black man, I believe we need the police,” he said. “I’m not disputing that. But I need them to protect me, a black man in America, as much as they protect the government.”

As he spoke, flashing blue and white lights bounced off the marble monuments as D.C. police shut down side streets around the march.

By Marissa Lang, Clarence Williams and Samantha Schmidt
June 4, 2020 at 10:52 PM EDT

In Montgomery County, protesters spoke of George Floyd and another death at home

More than 300 vehicles strong, a “car parade protest” poured into a Montgomery County high school parking lot Thursday evening to demonstrate against police violence and a recent fatal shooting by a Montgomery police officer.

“I’m heartened to see this crowd. I’m heartened to see all of the different people of different backgrounds, because we have got to do this together,” said Zakiya Sankara-Jabar of the group Racial Justice Now, one of about a dozen speakers who addressed the crowd after they exited their cars.

Sankara-Jabar said the recent protests around the country — large and diverse — had made a big impression compared with protests she has attended in years past. “This is different,” she said to enthusiastic cheers.

The crowd at Montgomery Blair High School was peaceful. Police reported no arrests or property damage.

The caravan began in the White Oak section of Montgomery, passed by the county police department’s Silver Spring district station and ended up at Blair. Cars started arriving there at 5:45 p.m. and the speakers wrapped up just before 8 p.m., just before heavy rains came down.

Beyond the death of George Floyd, the protest addressed the death of Finan Berhe, 30, who was by fatally shot by Montgomery police Sgt. David Cohen on May 7.

Cohen’s body-worn camera video, released by the police, showed that Berhe charged the officer in a townhouse parking lot while holding a large kitchen knife. Cohen fired five rounds as Berhe closed in on him.

Katie Stauss, who helped organize the protest and is co-chair of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition, said Cohen was too quick to pull out his gun and point it at Berhe.

“Cohen should have de-escalated the situation,” she said, adding, “Police draw their guns and shoot because they are not held accountable.”

Cohen’s attorney, James Shalleck, said the shooting was tragic but justified.

“From the body-cam footage, he tried to warn the deceased to put down the knife and even said, ‘I don’t want to shoot you,’ ” Shalleck said. “The deceased sprinted at the officer with a large knife in his hand. The officer had no choice but to defend his life.”

By Dan Lamothe
June 4, 2020 at 10:18 PM EDT

The rain doused protesters. This woman showed up with dry shirts.

As the more prepared demonstrators peeled off ponchos and unzipped rain jackets, other protesters who had ridden out the storm outside the White House shook rain out of their hair and wrung their shirts dry.

Hadir Abdulla, 25, of Fairfax, wove through the crowd, swinging dry black shirts over her head like helicopter blades.

“Dry shirts!” she called. “Anyone need a dry shirt?”

Two protesters ran up. “How much?” asked one.

“No,” Abdulla said. “Just take them. Here.”

Abdulla and her cousin, who runs a store in Adams Morgan, grabbed about 40 T-shirts to hand out to demonstrators after the storm passed. They were closing down the shop as the rain started to lift and figured the protesters would be wet and maybe cold. Drying them off was the best way she could think to be of service.

“This is so beautiful,” she said. “It was just raining — no, pouring — and these people are still here, standing up for our lives.”

She pushed forward into the crowd as the group around her broke into a new cheer:

“We can do this all night!”

By Marissa Lang
June 4, 2020 at 10:04 PM EDT

The crowd may be smaller, but the energy isn’t ebbing, protester says

If anyone could be called a veteran of the George Floyd protests in Washington, it might be Jay Lively. He said he came out to the first protest last Friday and has been every day since.

Most days the 34-year-old from Fredericksburg, Va., has set up his volunteer medic station beneath a tree on the side of St. John’s Episcopal Church facing the White House.

He said he was hit by pepper balls one day, pointing to a purplish bruise under a tattoo on his left arm. He said he treated demonstrators injured when authorities forcefully pushed them back so President Trump could visit St. John’s on Monday.

Another night, he dodged officers enforcing curfew, sleeping beneath a blanket behind a bus stop, he said.

On Thursday night, Lively, who is white, waived off any suggestion the day’s smaller crowds might mean the energy of the protests was ebbing.

He pointed to signs of organizing for the long haul. He said a church in Thomas Circle had started putting up protesters and online forums were buzzing with offers of places for protesters from out-of-town to stay. He said friends had just unloaded a truck full of donated food the day before.

“If it’s a siege they want, it’s a siege they will get,” Lively said, gesturing to the highly fortified White House.

Lively said he anticipated crowds would grow again for Saturday’s protest, since more people would be off for the weekend. He said he wouldn’t venture any guesses about how long protests might last, but he planned to be there.

“Every day,” he said, “until we get some satisfaction.”

By Justin Jouvenal
June 4, 2020 at 9:27 PM EDT

‘We’re not moving:’ Protesters stay near White House despite rain

As the downpour began, Anya Colón, 38, and her cousin, Iliana Arthur, 41, sprinted from the supply booth on 16th Street NW to take cover on the front steps of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Protesters packed into the small space between the pillars, and a cameraman desperate to protect his equipment said to them, “Can you guys get out of here? I’ve been here for 35 minutes.”

“We’ve been here for four days. We’re not moving,” Colón said.

The two cousins had traveled to D.C. from New York on Sunday night, and had been at the protests since Monday. Even though the protests in New York City would have been closer, they chose to make the trip to Washington to be able to protest in front of President Trump.

As they huddled by the pillars, a man walked up the church and offered them ponchos.

“Here we go now cousin, we’re back on the move!” Arthur said.

Then, a man in drenched clothes walked up to them and offered them coffee out of a pitcher.

“Sir, coffee!” Colón said. “I need it,” Arthur said.

Ponchos on and coffee in hand, the cousins walked back into the crowd.

“Power to the people!” Arthur shouted as the rains eased.

By Samantha Schmidt
June 4, 2020 at 9:13 PM EDT

Southeast man serves up burgers at protest: ‘This is not a granola-bar moment’

On Tuesday, his first night at the demonstrations in front of the White House, Reginald Guy decided there was something he could do to improve the world that had overtaken downtown Washington.

When he returned to the protests Thursday, he brought a grill, a fold-up serving table and 100 hot dogs. Someone saw him setting up and went and bought hamburger meat to donate to the menu. Until the rain came down, he served everyone. All free, unless someone felt like contributing a few bucks.

“This is not a granola-bar moment,” Guy said just before dousing his coals with lighter fluid and putting a dozen burgers on the fire. “We’re not hiking. This is not a game.”

Guy, who works at a CVS and lives in Southeast Washington, said he has found the protests to be disorganized and lacking in focus, with “people walking back and forth.”

The food he saw protesters eating — ham sandwiches and Cliff bars — are not the stuff of a revolution, he said.

He said he hopes his food will provide more focus and perhaps the foundation for his own movement.

“Tomorrow night, I will have vegan,” he told people who stopped by his grill, which was outside St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House. “I’m going to bring sides.”

“Are you starting an organization?” a woman asked.

“I am the organization,” Guy answered.

He said he would feed anyone — demonstrators, police officers, soldiers and even President Trump “as long as he walks over here and talks to us.”

Daniel Molina, 24, a laid-off research assistant in a Vineyard Vines T-shirt, handed Guy a $5 donation.

“God bless you,” someone else said. A woman wearing a “Make America Pay Reparations” T-shirt gave him a baggie filled with first-aid supplies, including milk of magnesia “in case you’re tear gassed.”

A German newspaper reporter took his photo. Then a Voice of America reporter took one. Then Guy posed for a picture with the two reporters.

“These burgers are hot — if you want one, come get them,” he shouted, as the small crowd in front of his grill inched forward.

By Paul Schwartzman
June 4, 2020 at 9:04 PM EDT

For protester, Lincoln Memorial is a ‘powerful backdrop’

As speakers shouted over a bullhorn at the base of the Lincoln Memorial, Bakary Samasa swept his arm from the crowd of hundreds across the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument in the distance.

“This is a powerful backdrop,” Samasa said. “It represents the ideals and history of America, but there’s always been a paradox. America is about freedom and liberty, but those ideals have always excluded black people.”

As if to emphasize his point about the dramatic setting, lightning flashed from ominous dark clouds that streamed over the Lincoln Memorial. Fat drops of rain were beginning to spatter on the stones around him.

Samasa, 23, who is black, said it was important that Thursday’s protest came to the Lincoln Memorial, given its history. He pointed out that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech just feet away, had advocated for some of the same changes protesters were seeking in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis. He hoped the setting would allow the public to see the protests as part of the same arc of struggle.

Samasa, who is a brain researcher, said he first protested as a teenager after Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012. He acknowledged the crowds appeared smaller Thursday, but he didn’t think they would let up soon.

“There is a lot of anger,” Samasa said.

By that point, protesters were hurrying by him, heading for cover as the rain began to fall more heavily.

Samasa joined the throng as winds whipped across the Lincoln Memorial.

By Justin Jouvenal
June 4, 2020 at 8:50 PM EDT

Soaked protesters take shelter at District of Columbia War Memorial

They started running when the roar of thunder overtook the chants of “No justice, no peace! No racist police!” that echoed off the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Clusters of twos and threes ran for tree cover on the Mall as storm rolled in.

Some, like Kalli Joslin, 23, and her fiancee tried to call a ride to pick them up. But no Lyfts were responding.

The first car canceled as they trudged through the rain. The second turned around as they took shelter beneath the marble dome of the District of Columbia War Memorial.

Two other protesters there used their cardboard signs as shields against the wind and raindrops whipping through the structure.

Finally, for Joslin and her fiancee, a driver confirmed. He was 16 minutes away.

“Better than being out there,” Joslin said, gesturing to rain drops the size of peanuts falling from the sky.

Joslin returned to the protest Thursday after she was among the demonstrators sprayed with a chemical irritant Monday outside St. John’s Episcopal Church. She felt she had to come back, she said.

“This is a massively overdue civil rights movement,” said Joslin, who lives in the Brookland area in D.C. “We wanted to be here to support.”

By Marissa Lang and Peter Jamison
June 4, 2020 at 8:21 PM EDT

Protesters start to scatter as storm arrives

Dark skies and lightning arrived before sunset, as winds of more than 40 mph started whipping into the city Thursday evening and sending thousands of protesters scattered around Washington to seek refuge from the incoming rain.

The first rain drops began to fall at the White House near 8 p.m., thinning a crowd that was already smaller than previous days. Even the man with a large American flag left the crowd.

Those that remained seemed empowered, chanting “Let it rain! Let it rain!”

Dozens of protesters went up against the fence separating them from Lafayette Square. The shaking only lasted for a brief moment, until a strong wind gust came through. As rain came down harder, people gathered under umbrellas closer to St. John’s Episcopal Church. Others hid under ponchos.

But most protesters went without either.

Even with lightning and thunder above, some protesters stayed, chanting louder and louder. As the rain drenched them, dozens crammed into the archways of the church.

Others held up their arms as the thunder crackled. And from the crowd came chants: “We’re not leaving!”

At the Lincoln Memorial, some of the several hundred people who had gathered there started to stream down the National Mall. But hundreds more remained.

The wind began to shake treetops throughout the Mall and break off weaker limbs.

“Oh crap,” said a man, pointing, while a woman near him scrolled on her phone, checking the weather report.

Within seconds, the demonstrators split into small groups of three or four and began walking away quickly, streaming down the steps and along both sides of the reflecting pool. Some broke into a run, searching for shelter or headed home.

Lightning crackled. Public safety officials said they received no reports of injuries or lightning strikes to protesters.

Back at the White House, the rain barely let up, but the crowd in front of fence grew again to roughly 200 people.

Some still held up their cardboard signs, now absolutely drenched. Music still blasted from a speaker somewhere, and some protesters danced in the rain.

By Samantha Schmidt, Hannah Natanson, Andrew Freedman and Rebecca Tan
June 4, 2020 at 8:11 PM EDT

As protests stay peaceful, law enforcement left with little to do

Behind the tall black fence that, for days, has encircled Lafayette Square and separated federal law enforcement officers from protesters gathered in the street, military forces in camouflage lounged on benches and watched a squirrel scurry past.

“Jesus, don’t they have anything better to do?” a protester marveled.

“Our tax dollars at work,” said another.

As protests over the police killing of George Floyd’s marched through their seventh day in the District, the federal officers brought in to maintain order in the nation’s capital had little work to do.

The protesters were patrolling themselves, maintaining peace and channeling their energy into miles-long marches that crisscrossed the District, from the Martin Luther King Memorial to the White House, down to the U.S. Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial.

As dinnertime approached, protesters handed out water and hand sanitizer, granola bars and clementines.

“Having the U.S. military out here is crazy,” said Regina Watson, 35, from the Deanwood neighborhood of the District. “I mean, look at this. There’s got to be something better for them to do — like what their actual job is: defending our country.”

Watson hadn’t attended the previous days’ demonstrations. She was waiting for the violence to subside.

She shook her head as she watched the troops in the park.

“You know, the White House is the people’s house and it makes me so mad we’re being kept from it, behind this fence,” Watson said. “Our ancestors built that house. Brick by brick. That’s our house. Donald Trump is just a guest.”

By Marissa Lang