9 Jul 2016

'Black Lives Matter' protesters return to the streets, condemn Dallas violence

Tensions ran high between police and protesters, resulting in a few arrests and scattered scuffles. The Friday protests came a day after a sniper killed five police officers during a demonstration in Dallas.

Crowds gathered for an interfaith prayer vigil in Dallas to honor the police officers


Protesters across the nation marched mostly peacefully, decrying police brutality over the killing of two African-American men this week.

They wept, held signs and chanted, "Black Lives Matter."
Black Lives Matter condemned the violence in the Dallas attack, calling the attack a tragedy not just for those affected but the nation as well.
    "Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it. Yesterday's attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman. To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible. We continue our efforts to bring about a better world for all of us."

    Friday's anti-police brutality demonstrations were held in several cities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans, Nashville, Phoenix, San Francisco and New York.
    The protests erupted this week after videos surfaced showing two African-American men, Alton Sterling andPhilando Castile, who were shot by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. Their deaths along with several African-Americans before them, spurred debate over the police use of force and questions over racial profiling.
    In Phoenix, confrontations broke out between protesters and police, CNN affiliate KPHO reported.
    During the protests, police formed a human shield to block demonstrators from blocking a freeway, Derek Staahl, a reporter with the affiliate told CNN.
    It led to a tense standoff between police and protesters as several stood directly in front of the officers raising both hands in the "Don't shoot" gesture.
    Local reporters said police used pepper spray, aggravating the protesters even more. Affiliate video showed demonstrators covering their eyes and faces, sprawled on the ground in pain.
    Protesters appeared to retaliate by screaming expletives and hurling rocks and other objects at the police. As it neared midnight, the Phoenix crowd had mostly splintered off and a police helicopter hovered overhead, warning them to go home.
    In Chicago, a "die-in" was held near President Barack Obama's residence there and demonstrators also gathered in front of the White House. In Washington, prominent African-American congressmen, including Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon, joined the protests.
    "When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, we have a moral obligation to stand up," he told the crowd who marched from the White House to the Capitol building.
    In Baton Rouge, where Alton Sterling was fatally shot Tuesday, protesters marched near the police headquarters.
    About 300 protesters faced officers in riot gear under heightened tensions. Community leaders and local officials tried to calm down the crowd by forming a line between police and the crowd. Tempers flared when several protesters hurled plastic bottles of water and cups of ice at police.
    Most demonstrators dispersed later in the evening only after police agreed to pull away cops in riot gear and rifles.
    In San Francisco, people rallied in front of the waterfront holding signs that read: "Stop racist police terror in the U.S." They marched down a major street, closely watched by police officers yelling: "If we don't get no justice, we don't get no peace."
    Protesters in Oakland had blocked a highway early Friday morning, blocking traffic on both sides.
    In Atlanta, a crowd of about 2,000 people blocked a downtown interstate ramp during a march organized by the NAACP.
    Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed tweeted that "less than 10 people arrested" in the march.
    Reed, who attended the march, told CNN's Don Lemon that peaceful protesters in the city are practicing their First Amendment right.
    Young black people today have higher expectations, which is a sign of progress, he said.
    "One of the things that is exciting about this protest tonight. Our young people have an expectation that they will be treated fairly and justly ... Every generation makes their demands."
    "Their tolerance level is much different to perhaps my parents' generation or their parents generation." he added.
    Reed said that while his father instructed him to go out of his way to be deferential and compliant in any encounters with police, "this generation has a different expectation."
    "My dad grilled into me the lesson of driving a vehicle as as black man. Keep your hands on the steering wheel. Look forward and say, 'yes sir' or 'ma'am' to the police officer. Place your wallet in the seat beside you. Ask for permission to do anything because he was concerned about me living. He just wanted me to get home safe."
    Reed revealed that last year, Atlanta law enforcement fired their weapons less than 10 times in 1.6 million interactions.
    "We have to respect the 99.9% of law enforcement officials who do good everyday but we have to act decisively when individuals in the law enforcement community do wrong," Reed said.