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Pittsburgh in protest

Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis on May 25, demonstrations around the country have called for racial justice. Those calls have not let up, and here in the Pittsburgh region, protests have filled the streets for months.

Protesters have marched, danced, sung and shouted. These protests are often loud and kinetic, filled with chants and fast-moving events. Scores of people attending the protests regularly witness this energy firsthand, while plenty more see these actions through the small handheld window of an online livestream. With so much happening all at once, PublicSource used slow motion videography to film scenes from two days of recent demonstrations. The result is a quiet, slowed-down time capsule of a critical moment in American history, happening here at home.

By Ryan Loew

Left: University of Pittsburgh freshman Jalynn Johnson, 18, participates in a Civil Saturday protest in Downtown on Sept. 5. Organized by the teen-led group Black, Young, & Educated, the Civil Saturdays series urged for a change to Pennsylvania's statute detailing how police can use force. Activists have argued that the language in the law is too broad. Center: A Pittsburgh police officer blocks traffic on Stanwix Street. Right: Demonstrators march down Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh on Sept. 5.

A demonstrator holds an upside down American flag as protesters circle around the intersection of Stanwix Street and Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh on Sept. 5. The protest was one of many Civil Saturday demonstrations that occurred over the course of the summer.

Demonstrators raise their hands to the air, some clapping, as a march moves from Market Square through Downtown on Sept. 2.

As police officers on motorcycles respond to Market Square during a Sept. 2 protest, the officers and protesters came face to face in the Downtown gathering place. In the wake of George Floyd’s death and other cases of police brutality, activists and Democratic lawmakers across the country have called for the “defunding” of police departments.

Civil Saturday protesters march past people dining outside in downtown Pittsburgh on Sept. 5.

Protesters gather outside the City-County Building in downtown Pittsburgh on Sept. 5 as part of a weekly Civil Saturday demonstration.

Left: Protesters gathered outside the home of Mayor Bill Peduto on Sept. 5. Right: Independent activist Lorenzo Rulli speaks through a megaphone as fellow demonstrators protest outside Mayor Bill Peduto’s home.

Police stand guard outside the entrance to Mayor Bill Peduto’s home on Sept. 5. Protesters gathered outside the mayor’s home several times during the summer, including after the controversial 'pop-out' arrest of a protest marshal by city police on Aug. 15. "Hey hey, ho ho, Mayor Peduto has got to go," was among the chants calling for his resignation during demonstrations.

Ryan Loew is a visual storyteller/producer for PublicSource. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @RyanLoew.

Design and development by PublicSource Creative Director Natasha Vicens.