COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Since instances involving the police shooting deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota and the deadly sniper attack against officers in Dallas, Columbus has seen several organized, peaceful protests.
On Saturday, there was a continuous presence at the Statehouse, with rallies happening one after the other.
“In our society, we’re treated as if our life doesn’t matter,” said Nasia Morgan. “So, we have to chant that black lives matter. It doesn’t mean that other lives don’t matter. It’s just saying that we matter too.”
Hundreds of people have been gathering at the Statehouse all day, asking for violence to end.
“We have these now,” said Morgan as she holds up a cell phone. “You can’t get away from social media and you can’t get away from actual visuals to tell you that we’re not lying when we say that these people are shooting us for no reason. That’s it. We just want to be treated like humans.”
Dani Edmonds organized a peace rally today.
“This is for everybody…Black, white, latinos, Hispanics, Asians,” she said. “It’s peace. This is all I’m preaching right here is peace. We do not have to act out in anger to have our voices heard.”
Gianna Binion says she heard about the rally on Facebook.
“I wanted to come out tonight because I’m tired of seeing people that I know getting killed,” she said. “I’m tired of seeing people my age, my skin color getting killed.”
Tania Hudson attended as well. She says her son Deaunte Bell was killed by Columbus Police back in October of last year.
“There’s a lot of things I have questions concerning especially being shot in the head and four times in the back,” she says. “All lives, all lives are important. These things that are transpiring are very hurtful.”
Henry Green’s family was there, too. Their son was killed by Columbus Police earlier this summer.
Tajh Jones was one of the many who stayed hours after the original rally began.
“All lives do matter, but there’s one race in America when we go outside we could be terminated,” he says. “When we get pulled over by the police that could be the last person that we speak to.”
There is another Black Lives Matter march scheduled for tomorrow at noon at Battelle Park on Marconi Avenue.
Similar protests were held all across the nation on Saturday:
Several hundred protesters outraged by the police killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota took to the streets of San Francisco, blocking several roads and ramps to get on and off the Bay Bridge.
The California Highway Patrol closed access to the bridge at least two times Saturday afternoon when protesters took over freeway ramps, causing traffic to back up.
The group began marching from the city’s Hall of Justice to the downtown shopping area, causing a temporary shutdown of a popular mall as the crowd gathered there to chant slogans and make speeches.
In central California, several hundred protesters blocked several intersections as they marched against police brutality in central Fresno. Officers in riot gear blocked an on-ramp to keep the protesters from entering State Route 41.
Black Lives Matter supporters said they plan to continue a sit-in in Denver in response to the police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana through Tuesday for a total of 135 hours. That’s an hour for each of the black people they say have been killed by police across the country this year.
The gathering, across from the City and County Building, began Thursday afternoon, several hours before police officers were killed in Dallas.
People have been dropping off food and water for those camped out on chairs and blankets in Civic Center Park.
Hundreds of people marched in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale as part of the Black Lives Matter movement in demonstrations that ended peacefully.
Protesters in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday chanted “No justice, no peace” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.” At one point the protest stopped outside a Broward County jail and prisoners banged on windows in support.
The demonstrations came after police shootings of black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, and the deadly sniper attack on police officers in Dallas.
A Palm Beach Post reporter tweeted a photo of a protester shaking a police officer’s hand as the West Palm Beach protest disbursed.
A third protest was planned in Miami on Saturday evening.
A few hundred protesters have gathered at the Baton Rouge Police Department.
The demonstrators gathered Saturday to protest the shooting death of a black man, Alton Sterling, by two white police officers at a convenience store parking lot last week.
The protest was tense earlier as police in riot gear came out, apparently to clear the road so traffic could pass through.
A police spokesman said two firearms were confiscated and several arrests made.
Police later went back inside their headquarters and traffic reopened.
Baton Rouge resident Marie Flowers came to the protest in with her three children. She said people in the north Baton Rouge neighborhood where the shooting happened are frustrated.
Protesters waved homemade signs while drivers honked their support and some stopped by with bottles of water.
Hundreds of people marched in New York City to protest police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota.
The protesters chanted “Black lives matter” and “No justice, no peace” as they marched up Broadway from near City Hall on Saturday.
The protesters kept to the sidewalk at first, but they took to the streets after the march reached Union Square.
A police spokeswoman said there were an unknown number of arrests.
Protester Cynthia Howell said she is not against the police but she wants to see accountability. Howell is a niece of Alberta Spruill, who died of a heart attack in 2003 after police threw a concussion grenade into her Harlem apartment.
Howell said officers who do “reckless, dangerous things” must be held accountable.
Several hundred people broke off from Pittsburgh’s 200th anniversary parade to protest recent police shootings across the country. Some were affiliated with Black Lives Matter.
They marched from Point State Park on Saturday afternoon to the county courthouse.
In Philadelphia, a group of about 100 protesters marched to two police precincts in the northern part of the city on Saturday. A leader of the group, which calls itself the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice, told the Daily News (http://bit.ly/29pHEkY) that it wants to disrupt and shut down police activity and traffic in the precincts.
Earlier, organizers told the newspaper that the shooting deaths Thursday night of five white police officers in downtown Dallas by a black sniper would not deter them.
“I’m not concerned for what that brother did when he killed those cops,” march leader and coalition member Kamau Becktemba said. “It was justified rage.”
About 50 uniformed police officers watched the protest, the newspaper reported.
More than 150 people gathered in downtown Newport in support of the Black Lives Matter movement after a week of violence across the nation.
The Providence Journal reports the group marched on Saturday afternoon to call for changes after the police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota this week.
Speakers urged the crowd to get involved in grassroots efforts to improve law enforcement across the country.
Seneca Pender of Middletown organized the rally. He told the crowd that the senseless killings of black people “have to stop.”
Pender also thanked law enforcement officers who provided security at the rally in Newport and denounced the deadly attack Thursday on police officers at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas that left five officers dead.
Protesters who support the Black Lives Matter movement rallied in Salt Lake City, with some saying they grieved both the losses of the black men in Louisiana and Minnesota and fallen Dallas police officers.
“The answer to guns is not more guns,” said Deyvid Morales, who directed the protest Saturday, told the Salt Lake Tribune (http://bit.ly/29vvYAl.) “The answer to stop this violence is to peacefully talk things out, to come together as a community. … We just want peace.”
Two black women and one Latina spoke at the rally, expressing fear for loved ones and themselves in dealings with police.
“It’s terrifying to be the mother of a black child,” Jessica Lee said. “Speaking from personal experience, it is terrifying to know that next year my son is going to be out driving, so I constantly have to grill him on things – what to say, what not to say.”
The protesters included Carl Moore of Orem. He did a dance in traditional Native American clothing. The dance was a tribute to the human race, he said.
“When I see this ‘All Lives Matter,’ what it does is it dilutes the situation,” Moore said. “What we’re doing right now is Black Lives Matter.”
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Olga Rodriguez in San Francisco; Daisy P. Nguyen in Los Angeles; Tarek Hamada in Phoenix; Amy Anthony in Providence, Rhode Island; Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida; and Rebecca Santana in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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