Demonstrators in at least eighteen cities took to the streets Friday evening to protest the recent police shootings of black men in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge. The protests came one day after a militant Black Lives Matter supporter shot a dozen police officers at a rally in Dallas, killing five.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the rallies took place in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, New York City, Omaha, Detroit, New Orleans, Rochester, N.Y., Baton Rouge, La., Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco, Sacramento, Phoenix and Little Rock, Ark. Not mentioned on their list was a small and entirely peaceful rally that took place in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, which PJ Media was able to attend.
Most of the protests were reportedly peaceful last night, but police were compelled to use force and make arrests in a number of cases.
In Atlanta, a crowd of about 2,000 people blocked a downtown interstate ramp during a march organized by the NAACP that resulted in two arrests by the Georgia State Patrol.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed attended the march and told protesters he respected their right to demonstrate.
“We’re respecting their 1st Amendment rights. We’re the home of Dr. Martin Luther King. The only thing I ask is that they not take the freeways,” Reed told reporters at the scene. “Dr. King would never take a freeway.”
The Los Angeles Times continued:
In Phoenix, police in riot gear used pepper spray and fired bean bags at hundreds of protesters to prevent them from blocking ramps to Interstate 10. Some protesters hurled rocks at police, according to the Arizona Republic and other reporters on scene.
The crowd eventually dwindled, and three arrests were reported.
In Rochester, N.Y., 74 people were arrested at a Black Lives Matter protest that drew 400 people.
Officials said they had made attempts to communicate with organizers and thought the protest was ending before the arrests were made.
“We actually started demobilizing officers and … arranging for some officers to be in the area just to keep an eye on things,” Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli said at a press briefing early Saturday.
Officers donned riot gear “later on” and at one point the crowd began to surround them and rocks were thrown, he said.
“At this point … there were 74 arrests for disorderly conduct. There were also two charges for resisting arrest,” he said. The crowd numbered more than 400 people, he said.
At the same briefing, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said the situation had “escalated a little bit” but police did not have to use use any pepper spray, batons or “deploy any weapons, any tasers.”