Black Lives Matter Protesters March Throughout the Weekend | chelseanow.com

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Black Lives Matter Protesters March Throughout the Weekend

Indigo Goodson of Brooklyn carried a sign at a July 8 rally in Union Square. Photo by Lauren Vespoli.

Indigo Goodson of Brooklyn carried a sign at a July 8 rally in Union Square. Photo by Lauren Vespoli.

BY LAUREN VESPOLI | From City Hall to Times Square, hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets this weekend to protest recent police shootings of three black men: Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota; and Delrawn Small in Brooklyn.

Sterling was fatally shot while officers had him pinned to the ground, while Castile was shot while he was reaching for his wallet during a traffic stop. Small was shot by an off-duty cop during a traffic dispute in the Cypress Hills neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The weekend of protests and marches began on the rainy Friday evening of July 8 — the day after a sniper, Micah Xavier Johnson, a 25-year-old US Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, killed five police officers and wounded several others during protests in Dallas.

Black Lives matter protestors marched up Seventh Ave. in Chelsea on Friday evening. Photo by Lauren Vespoli.

Black Lives matter protesters marched up Seventh Ave. in Chelsea on Friday evening. Photo by Lauren Vespoli.

A small group began gathering at the southeast corner of Union Square at around 6pm for a rally for justice for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, organized by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and the NYC Revolution Club, according to the Stop Mass Incarceration Network’s Facebook page.

A series of speakers addressed attendees from the center of the growing crowd, calling for love and respect, in between intermittent chants of “Black lives matter.”

As darkness fell, one group of protesters made their way through Chelsea and past the Penn Station area, en route to Grand Central. Photo by Lauren Vespoli.

“It’s not a black and white thing; we just need equality,” said a speaker who identified herself as Kynt Pariah. “We’ve got to keep fighting.”

“You can do more to help us and support us than appropriate our culture,” another protester said, speaking to what whites could do in the wake of the violence.

“For me as a black woman talking to black people, we need to love and respect each other,” another woman said into the microphone as she began to cry. “To all the white people who think black people are violent, that’s not the truth.”

Protestors marched up Seventh Ave. near Times Square, before heading east to Grand Central. Photo by Lauren Vespoli.

Protesters marched up Seventh Ave. near Times Square, before heading east to Grand Central. Photo by Lauren Vespoli.

While speakers expressed outrage and frustration about the many police shootings of blacks, it seemed that the events in Dallas weighed on everyone’s mind, as some of the protesters urged the group to obey police orders to stay off the street.

The police had set up barricades surrounding the southeast corner of Union Square, and officers gathered to keep watch as the crowd swelled, reaching close to 300 at its peak.

A young man in Union Square on Sun., July 10. Photo by Daniel Kwak.

A young man in Union Square on Sun., July 10. Photo by Daniel Kwak.

Daniela Brito, of Washington Heights, had marched with protesters on Thursday. After the Dallas shootings, she expressed concern about the police who had gathered to watch over the crowd. “I’m kind of scared that there’s going to be way more [of a] police presence,” she said.

At about 7:30pm, the protesters began marching, with one group heading to the Williamsburg Bridge, and the other headed for Grand Central Station in Midtown.

Police accompanied the Manhattan group, as protesters chanted “Black lives matter,” “Hands up, don’t shoot!” and “No justice, no peace.”

After walking up Second Ave. to W. 23rd St. and back down Third Ave., the group returned to Union Square at around 8pm before heading west on 14th St., then up through Chelsea on Seventh Ave.

More police gathered as the group approached Times Square, but the marchers moved east, obeying police requests to stay on the sidewalk, and arrived at Grand Central Station shortly before 9pm.

Beneath the clock tower, protesters raised their fists in solidarity during a moment of silence, before heading up the escalators into the MetLife building, and moving west on 45th St. The protesters began to disperse after 9pm.

Inside Grand Central, protestors gathered under the clock tower before holding a moment of silence for victims of police shootings. Photo by Lauren Vespoli.

Inside Grand Central, protesters gathered under the clock tower before holding a moment of silence for victims of police shootings. Photo by Lauren Vespoli.

But while there were no arrests during Friday’s demonstrations, about 20 protesters were arrested from among the hundreds that gathered for protests on Saturday night, Gothamist reported. Black Lives Matter NYC had posted on their Facebook page earlier in the day calling for a march to demand justice for Delrawn Small, in partnership with NYC Shut it Down: The Grand Central Crew.

While some groups marched across the Williamsburg Bridge from Brooklyn, another started at City Hall, marching up Broadway to Union Square, with smaller groups breaking off, and some stopping traffic on FDR Drive. According to Gothamist, Delrawn Small’s nephew, Zayanahla Vines led the protest.

New surveillance video of Small’s shooting was released exclusively to The New York Post on June 8, showing Small walking toward police officer Wayne Isaacs’ car, when Isaacs opened fire. This footage contradicted an earlier report published in the Post, in which a witness claimed he had video footage of Small punching the officer through the window.

Protesters created these signs in Union Square, on the evening of Sun., July 10. Photo by Jane Argodale.

Protesters created these signs in Union Square, on the evening of Sun., July 10. Photo by Jane Argodale.

On Sunday afternoon, hundreds more protesters marched from Times Square down Broadway to Union Square, amNewYork reported, where they conducted a sit-in in the park. According to the paper, one of the protest organizers said that no arrests were made on Sunday.

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