In the aftermath of Thursday's Dallas and Tennessee shootings, thousands of mostly peaceful protesters took to the streets of U.S. cities for the second night in a row on Friday to denounce the fatal shooting by police of two black men this week. Overnight demonstrators clogged roadways in New York City, Atlanta and Philadelphia, and events in San Francisco and Phoenix also drew large crowds.
Six people were injured and three were arrested in Phoenix, after confrontations broke out between protesters and police. Officers in riot gear used pepper spray on protesters, some of whom threw rocks at the police, the Phoenix Police Department said in a statement. The use of impact munitions didn’t lead to any injuries, and no arrests have been made, Phoenix Police Chief said. The Black Lives Matter march kicked off outside Phoenix City Hall at 8 pm.
Time lapse: I-10 is stopped due to rally in downtown Phoenix.https://t.co/SZO6O3DkXv— 12 News (@12News) July 9, 2016
An estimated 1,000 participants chanted: “Black lives matter” and “Hands up, don't shoot” as they marched. Police officers escorting the march weren’t dressed in riot gear. Rev. Jarrett Maupin, one of the civil rights leaders that helped stage the march, acknowledged the route of the march was changed to shut down Interstate 10.
Around 11 pm, the police declared the demonstration an “unlawful assembly.”
The time had come to disperse the crowd, Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner said, declaring the protest “successful” and saying the demonstrators' message had been heard, ABC News reported.
In Baton Rouge, where Alton Sterling was fatally shot Tuesday, protesters marched near 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 protesters. 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.
Protesters in Rochester, New York, sat in the street chanting "black lives, black lives." Some protesters stood in front of police who were clad in riot gear. Video from CNN's affiliate in Rochester showed officers attempting to move protesters farther back as screams and arguments ensued. The protests resulted in approximately 74 arrests for disorderly conduct and two charges of resisting arrest, said Rochester police Chief Michael Ciminelli in a news conference. No one was injured, he added. Protesters flooded New York's Grand Central Station, leading to disruptions and travel delays.
The largest demonstration appeared to be in Atlanta, where a crowd of about 2,000 people blocked a downtown interstate ramp during a march organized by the NAACP.
The protest resulted in two arrests by Georgia State Patrol, according to Atlanta Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Espy. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who attended the march, told CNN's Don Lemon that peaceful protesters in the city are practicing their First Amendment right Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed tweeted that the rally was largely peaceful, though about 10 people had been arrested.
The protest resulted in two arrests by Georgia State Patrol, according to Atlanta Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Espy. Atlanta Mayor Kasim 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."
Reed said in 2015, Atlanta law enforcement officers 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.
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Protests are expected to continue over the weekend.