Support grows for Baltimore protests as demonstrations spread across the U.S.
Across the nation, demonstrators are taking to the streets to support Baltimore protesters and to complain about police brutality in their own towns.
On Thursday afternoon, a protest started in Philadelphia in front of city hall, according to CNN affiliate KYW. Aerial video showed several hundred people gathered.
Mayor Michael Nutter said he expected it to be a peaceful protest.
“The police civil affairs unit and other components of the Philadelphia Police Department are well prepared to protect the demonstrators and citizens who need to go about their business as well,” he told KYW. “We anticipate a peaceful gathering in which everyone can express their First Amendment rights.”
The exact route of the protest march is not clear, KYW reported.
Protests are also planned Thursday in Cincinnati, according to CNN affiliate WXIX.
Demonstrations in Seattle; Portland, Oregon; and Oakland, California, are scheduled for Friday, which is also May Day, or International Workers Day — often used to call attention to issues affecting the working class and minorities.
In this story
- Protest starts Thursday afternoon outside Philadelphia City Hall
- 143 demonstrators arrested Wedneday in New York City, police say
On Wednesday, demonstrations took place in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, New York, Washington, and Ferguson, Missouri.
A New York police official said 143 people were arrested Wednesday night, mostly for blocking traffic and refusing to clear the street.
The protest started as several hundred people converged on Union Square for what was billed as an “NYC Rise up & Shut It down with Baltimore” rally.
New York police were out in force, pushing protesters back. Police used zip tie restraints on nearly two dozen people in the streets after a small scuffle.
The New York Police Department also handed out fliers and used loudspeakers to tell protesters and pedestrians to stay on the sidewalk.
“It came to a point where they had the loudspeakers going. They started making arrests quickly,” said CNN iReporter Michael Kande. “It was pretty crazy and hairy there for a bit.”
Demonstrators then moved through the city and had several shouting matches with police.
Social media sites were used to organize the protest, similar to how demonstrations were organized over the killing of Eric Garner. He died in July in Staten Island while being held by police in what appeared to be a chokehold.
CNN affiliate WCBS reported Mayor Bill de Blasio sent a message to the protesters: “I’d say that if you want to make change, keep things peaceful.” A smaller rally was held Tuesday in New York.
“All night, all day, we’re gonna fight for Freddie Gray.” That’s the chant heard from about 500 protesters in the nation’s capital Wednesday night.
The mood there was almost festive, as songs by Public Enemy like “Fight the Power” played while sign-language interpreters translated the music and the chants. The protests moved to the White House, but didn’t disrupt traffic.
Eugene Puryear, the organizer of one of the groups involved in the protest, the DC Ferguson Movement, said the march was called to show solidarity with the residents of Baltimore and to bring attention to police brutality as a national issue.
Minneapolis and Denver
Several hundred people gathered in Gold Medal Park in Minneapolis for a rally organized by the group #BlackLivesMatter. The Minneapolis group has held similar events in the past in response to what it says is police brutality across the country.
Violence broke out in downtown Denver on Wednesday night during a demonstration by about 100 people. Police in riot gear with military-style weapons and sticks used pepper spray on the crowd. Protesters said they were angry about police brutality around the country, including the case of Freddie Gray.
Shortly after 7 p.m. there was a minor scuffle in Civic Center Park. Police said they used force only after one of their officers was pushed to the ground. The Denver Post reported at least five protesters — including one whose face was bloodied — were arrested on the scene.
A witness said the protest was peaceful up until that point. Laura Wooldridge, a 49-year-old activist, told the Post, “The next thing I knew pepper spray was being sprayed into the audience.”
In all, 11 people were arrested. Charges included assault of a police officer, robbery, resisting police, disobedience to lawful orders, obstructing roadways and interference.
Police said they were protecting those in the march and ensuring public safety, according to a message posted on Twitter.
Violence marked protests that took place Tuesday night in Ferguson, Missouri, where three people were shot, city police reported.
But police said they didn’t do the shooting. A 20-year-old man was arrested and the three victims were in stable condition — two with wounds to the neck, one in the leg, police said.
Police said about 300 people marched, with protesters throwing rocks at police, damaging four police cars and setting trash and debris on fire near the intersection of Northwinds Estates Drive and West Florissant Avenue.
Hundreds of people marched in Chicago on Tuesday from police headquarters through the Southside, CNN affiliate WGN reported. One arrest was made, for reckless conduct. Protesters talked about police violence and the death of Rekia Boyd, killed by an off-duty officer in 2012. The officer was acquitted last week.