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'We Will Not Be Silenced' march continues for hours in downtown Grand Rapids

The march was focused on protesting racial injustice, and it was fueled by the grand jury's decision in the Breonna Taylor case.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Protesters gathered in downtown Grand Rapids for several hours Friday afternoon and evening for a "We Will Not Be Silenced" march. 

The 4 p.m. event was planned by Justice For Black Lives (JFBL), a group that has organized many of the city's protests over racial injustice this summer. Demonstrators remained downtown until past 10 p.m. 

The march started at Rosa Parks Circle, where people gathered for about an hour before speakers got on the stage to address the crowd. While the protest was planned before the grand jury's decision on the Breonna Taylor case, this was a motivating factor behind Friday's event.

"The verdict in these indictments was really important and kind of a wake-up call to get people out and make their voices heard," said Alyssa Bates, the president of JFBL. 

Credit: WZZM

RELATED: Live Updates | Protesters remain in downtown Grand Rapids

Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville police. She was born and raised in Grand Rapids, and some of her family members still live in the area. 

Friday's demonstration focused on the decision from the grand jury to not charge any of the officers with killing Taylor. One officer was charged with wanton endangerment for allegedly firing his weapon recklessly the night Taylor died. 

As the evening progressed, the protesters moved up Monroe Center Street to the Grand Rapids Police Department where barricades were set up and a line of officers were guarding the building. The city also brought in salt trucks in the afternoon to block some roads near the police department. 

For a little less than an hour, the crowd chanted in front of the police department before heading back to Rosa Parks Circle. As the group thinned, they headed back to the department and sat on the ground, peacefully protesting. 

Shortly before 10 p.m., the group mentioned a noise ordinance and started to whisper their chants. A couple of minutes after 10 p.m., police told the group the street was going to be opened and they needed to clear out of the street. 

They stayed on the sidewalk past 10 p.m., until organizers asked people to disperse. 

Watch part of the protest here:

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