Those planning on visiting (or merely driving around) Washington or New York City today may want to consider a plan B. As Reuters reports, "thousands of demonstrators were expected in Washington and New York on Saturday to protest the killings of unarmed black men by U.S. police and to urge Congress to protect citizens. Organizers said the protests would be among the largest over police tactics and the killings of black males by officers in New York, Cleveland and Ferguson, Missouri. “It’s open season on black people now,” New York march co-organizer Umaara Elliott said in a statement. “So we demand that action be taken at every level of government to ensure that these racist killings by the police cease.”
"We need more than just talk; we need legislative action that will shift things both on the books and in the streets," civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton, whose National Action Alliance is heading the Washington protest, said in a statement.
The Washington protest will include the families of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley, who were killed by New York police; Trayvon Martin, slain by a Florida neighborhood watchman in 2012; and Michael Brown, killed by an officer in Ferguson.
The march will start at noon and block Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the U.S. Capitol. Protesters are expected to arrive by bus from as far away as Florida, Connecticut and Pittsburgh, according to the organizers' website.
In New York, the march was expected to draw about 44,000 people and was meant to reinvigorate protests that swelled after a grand jury declined to indict the officer who killed Garner using a choke hold, organizers said.
And judging by the following photos from across the country, the marches have clearly already begun.
The crowd around the families leading the Justice for All March shout "No justice, no peace! No racist police!" pic.twitter.com/gV0OWRhMzo— Natalie DiBlasio (@ndiblasio) December 13, 2014
thousands by my estimation. What you can't see is the crowd marching down Pennsylvania Ave. pic.twitter.com/0CZHkyeIi6— Trymaine Lee (@trymainelee) December 13, 2014
"No justice, No peace, No racist police." Justice for All March. https://t.co/y8gGJRGtO4— Trymaine Lee (@trymainelee) December 13, 2014
"God can't breathe." pic.twitter.com/IiTjqL9OA2— Trymaine Lee (@trymainelee) December 13, 2014
I asked "Why are you here today?" A protester at the Justice For All March held up this shirt as his response. pic.twitter.com/HjOT0wrrh8— Natalie DiBlasio (@ndiblasio) December 13, 2014
"My generation should have solved this problem and we didn't," says Barbara Cole, 77, of Florissant, Mo. pic.twitter.com/ZqdKkz5v21— Natalie DiBlasio (@ndiblasio) December 13, 2014
"Eat some Krispy Kreme while you protest!" Business is booming for this man fundraising for his basketball team. pic.twitter.com/0WvWL9DYRk— Natalie DiBlasio (@ndiblasio) December 13, 2014
Enormous crowds at Freedom Plaza are heading to the street to begin the Freedom For All March to the U.S. Capitol. pic.twitter.com/eKW32DZ5Rz— Natalie DiBlasio (@ndiblasio) December 13, 2014
Saving the best for last, here is the punchline, a photo which best captures the collective disappointment in the president, from all classes and races alike.
"I don't expect to see Obama here. Black issues don't matter to him." pic.twitter.com/j1vBijYxuW— Trymaine Lee (@trymainelee) December 13, 2014
Live webcast from NYC via CBS: