Families of Coronavirus Victims to Lead 'March for the Dead' Before RNC

Families grieving loved ones lost in the coronavirus pandemic are set to lead a candlelit "March for the Dead" to highlight the number of people who have died from COVID-19 under President Donald Trump's watch ahead of next week's Republican National Convention.

Hundreds are expected to join the sunset candlelight procession on Friday, which will see demonstrators march from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to the Trump Building in New York City, where a vigil will be held honoring the thousands who have died from coronavirus in the U.S.

As of early Thursday morning, the U.S. had seen more than 5.5 million cases of coronavirus confirmed, with 173,181 cases resulting in death, according to the Johns Hopkins University's online tracker.

Residents who have lost family members in the pandemic will share their personal stories outside the Trump Building on Friday, while similar vigils are also expected to take place across the country, including in Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, Delaware, Arkansas and Alaska.

In a statement shared with Newsweek, COVID Families, a project of the Center for Popular Democracy that helped co-organize the event, said demonstrators would be demanding that the Trump administration be held accountable for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

"We are the numbers behind the COVID death toll. We are the survivors; the parents, the children, the siblings, the loved ones of those killed," COVID Families said. "We are taking a stand."

"Trump and his cowardly enablers, they all have blood on their hands," said Martin Quinn, an activist with COVID Families and activist group Rise and Resist.

"I don't know how else to channel my pain but to pressure them and the rest of the country to do better," Quinn said.

The march comes as the RNC is set to begin on Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The convention is already expected to see protests next week, with local activists in Charlotte planning a "Resist RNC 2020" block party on Monday in Marshall Park.

According to a Facebook event page for the demonstration, at least 40 people are planning on attending, with a number of community leaders and activists set to speak at the event.

The Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to be a prominent focus at the event, with Americans showing widespread disapproval of how the president has managed the outbreak.

In a new CNN poll released on Wednesday, a majority (68 percent) of Americans said they feel embarrassed by the United States' response to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, 58 percent of Americans said they do not approve of the way that Trump has handled the outbreak.

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

Vigil
A demonstrator wearing a mask holds a candle while taking part in a vigil outside Queensboro Correctional Facility on April 23, 2020 in New York City. This vigil was held for Leonard Carter, who died from COVID-19 while incarcerated. A march will take place on Friday, August 21, 2020 protesting the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty
Families of Coronavirus Victims to Lead 'March for the Dead' Before RNC | U.S.