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Protesters March Against Police-related Shootings in US

  • VOA News

A large group of protesters march in New York City, reacting to recent police-related shootings of two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana, July 7, 2016.

A large group of protesters march in New York City, reacting to recent police-related shootings of two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana, July 7, 2016.

The police-related shooting deaths of two African-American men in the U.S. led to protests in several cities late Thursday.

Hundreds of people marched through Times Square in New York City to protest the deaths this week of Philando Castile in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, and of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The demonstrators chanted, "Hands up! Don't shoot!" and held signs calling for justice for the African-American victims of police killings.

The deaths this week again raised questions about excessive police force, particularly against minorities.

'Nothing changes'

In New York City, Michael Houston, 20, of Brooklyn, said anger and lack of action brought him to the protest.

"It's the definition of insanity," Houston told The Associated Press. "How can we expect anything to be different when nothing changes?"

Lawrence Amsterdam, 35, also of Brooklyn, condemned what he called the police injustice.

"It's supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. But the way I see it, it's murder first and ask questions later," Amsterdam told the AP.

Hundreds gather at the JJ Hill Montesorri School in St. Paul, Minn., July 7, 2016, for a vigil following the shooting death by police of Philando Castile Wednesday night in Falcon Heights, Minn., after a traffic stop by St. Anthony police.

Hundreds gather at the JJ Hill Montesorri School in St. Paul, Minn., July 7, 2016, for a vigil following the shooting death by police of Philando Castile Wednesday night in Falcon Heights, Minn., after a traffic stop by St. Anthony police.

The New York protesters disrupted traffic through much of midtown Manhattan.

People protesting police shootings of black men also gathered Thursday in places such as Newark, New Jersey; Sarasota, Florida; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Minnesota shooting

Hundreds of protesters also gathered at Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's mansion in St. Paul, about 15 kilometers southeast of the site where Castile, a teacher, was shot to death during a traffic stop on Wednesday.

Castile's girlfriend captured the aftermath of the shooting with her cellphone, livestreaming the action on Facebook.

Ericka Cullars-Golden, who joined the protest, told the French news agency AFP her son Marcus Golden was shot in the head and killed by St. Paul police last year.

"I am so traumatized," Cullars-Golden said about the death of her son, who, like Castile, was black.

"I wanted to come out today to show my support because many of you have been supportive of my family," Cullars-Golden told AFP.

A day earlier, Sterling was shot in Louisiana after being pinned to the pavement by two white officers. That incident also was captured on a cellphone video.

On Wednesday, a group of nearly 200 people protesting Sterling's death marched through Philadelphia's city center for about two hours, stopping traffic at one point. Police arrested 12 people after ordering the protesters to move on.

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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