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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 26 April, 2019

Thousands march in Washington and New York to demand action on police killings

The marches come after the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

Image: Apexchange

THOUSANDS OF PROTESTERS marched down Washington DC’s iconic Pennsylvania Avenue today, arriving at the Capitol to call attention to the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police and call for legislative action.

“What a sea of people,” said Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old killed in Ferguson, Missouri, in August. “If they don’t see this and make a change, then I don’t know what we got to do. Thank you for having my back.”

Also speaking were civil rights leader The Rev. Al Sharpton and family members of Eric Garner, killed by an officer in New York in July, and Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old killed in Ohio as he played with a pellet gun in a park.

“Members of Congress, beware we’re serious …,” Sharpton said. “When you get a ring-ding on Christmas, it might not be Santa. It may be Rev. Al coming to your house.”

Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, called it a “history-making moment.”

“It’s just so overwhelming to see all who have come to stand with us today,” she said. “I mean, look at the masses. Black, white, all races, all religion. … We need to stand like this at all times.”

Spike Lee Film director Spike Lee, and others, march on Pennsylvania Avenue toward Capitol Hill in Washington. Source: Apexchange

Several speakers asked the crowd to chant, “I can’t breathe.” Garner, 43, had gasped those words before his death while being arrested for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Some protesters also wore those words on shirts.

Other speakers called for a chant of “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

Protests have occurred around America since grand juries last month declined to indict the officers involved in the deaths of Brown and Garner. Before the crowd started marching, Sharpton directed, “Don’t let no provocateurs get you out of line. … We are not here to play big shot. We are here to win.”

Then, blocks of tightly packed people moved through the city. Organisers had predicted 5,000 people, but the crowd appeared to far outnumber that.

In New York, thousands marched through Manhattan, congregating in Washington Square Park.

Read: “I can’t breathe”: New York protesters shout Eric Garner’s final words

Read: LeBron wore the ‘I Can’t Breathe’ protest t-shirt before the Cavs’ 7th straight win last night

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Associated Press

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