Most of the demonstrators appeared to be young and the majority were wearing masks.
An ad hoc group called “Spokane Street Medics,” composed of volunteer physicians, nurses and emergency aid workers, handed out free masks.
Marcus Shadwick, a 23-year-old African-American, said he considers it unfortunate that the pandemic lurks in the background of the Black Lives Matter movement, which he supports. He wasn’t wearing a mask, saying he left his at home. “I do feel though that people should be wearing masks.” He hoped to get a giveaway mask.
“I think these protests are bigger than any virus,” Mr. Shadwick said. “These protests are a cure for a virus that’s been going on for 400 years,” he said, referring to systemic racism.
His twin brother, Marquis Shadwick, standing nearby, said he showed up also without a mask “just to get my voice heard” and to speak out against “a corrupt police system and people not understanding that racism exists.”
Jshanelle Brown said she showed up because she has 10 siblings, including four brothers who are young black men who, she said, fear police.
“I have watched their interaction with police here in Spokane,” she said, explaining that she believes law enforcement officers frequently target young black men.
“They go straight to someone if the pigment of their skin is dark,” she said. “I guess they see people of color as being aggressive, the threat, the harm, and that’s unacceptable to me,” the 24-year-old social worker said.