MOUNT VERNON — Demonstrators held a rally late Friday afternoon in Mount Vernon in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and to condemn racism and police brutality.

About 30 people gathered on the Fourth Street bridge as the rally got underway.

Friday was Juneteenth, the oldest celebrated holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States, according to Juneteenth.com.

On June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Texas were told they were free, two-and-half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

The Juneteenth holiday has gained wider recognition this year in the wake of global demonstrations over black Americans killed at the hands of police.

Peaceful solidarity marches and protests have taken place across Skagit County for three weeks straight.

A Juneteenth rally was scheduled to take place on Friday evening in Anacortes and invited participants to read several minutes of text about freedom by black authors, according to an event announcement.

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