BOSTON (CBS) — Hundreds gathered at Boston City Hall Plaza on Sunday evening to march against racism. There have been large protests and unrest across the country since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Protesters called for Mayor Marty Walsh to defund the police and keep police out of schools.

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The crowd peacefully marched through the South End, doubling in size while doing so. Protesters stopped to take a knee for eight minutes in front of the Ruggles T station.

“That hurt me physically to sit there so I can imagine his neck and his body being crushed against the cement,” said Medford resident Jermain Pullum.

Boston Police officers and the National Guard were also set up on the plaza and along the march route, observing from the distance.

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One woman stopped to give them friendly elbow taps. “It’s just showing love, and empathy, and sympathy, that I understand your job, I understand that it’s hard,” she said.

A protester was seen lighting an American flag outside the T station after most of the crowd left. Northeastern University police stepped in and others told the man to go home.

“The police used to be about protecting and serving and I just want to bring that message back,” said another protester. “I feel like now, everyone is afraid of the police.”

At the end of the protest, organizers actively told people to go home to avoid the violence that broke out last week.

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Earlier in the day, several hundred people gathered for a rally in Cambridge. Community leaders and protesters converged on the common where speakers discussed what changes were needed to address racism.