New protests against US police shootings of black men

Protesters

Protesters

Thousands took to the streets in cities across the United States on Friday to denounce the fatal shooting by police of two black men this week, marching the day after a gunman killed five police officers during a similar demonstration in Dallas.

Several thousand protesters flooded the streets of downtown Atlanta, bringing traffic to a standstill after a gathering at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights near Centennial Olympic Park. Drivers in cars honked their horns as people holding signs and chanting “hands up, don’t shoot” streamed beside them.

Demonstrators also clogged roadways in New York City, Philadelphia and Oakland, with related events in San Francisco and Phoenix.

Thousands took to the streets in cities across the United States on Friday to denounce the fatal shooting by police of two black men this week, marching the day after a gunman killed five police officers during a similar demonstration in Dallas.

Several thousand protesters flooded the streets of downtown Atlanta, bringing traffic to a standstill after a gathering at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights near Centennial Olympic Park. Drivers in cars honked their horns as people holding signs and chanting “hands up, don’t shoot” streamed beside them.

Demonstrators also clogged roadways in New York City, Philadelphia and Oakland, with related events in San Francisco and Phoenix.

In Chicago, members of the Black Lives Matter movement and other groups staged a “die-in” outside President Barack Obama’s home in an effort to push the president to act on the violence occurring between police officers and black people.

While the demonstrations were largely peaceful, in Phoenix police in riot gear used pepper spray on protesters, some of whom threw rocks at officers, local media said.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed tweeted that the rally was largely peaceful in his city, although about 10 people had been arrested.

Protesters also gathered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where 37-year-old Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police early on Tuesday – his killing dramatically caught on video by a friend.

Friday was the second day of demonstrations against the use of force by police following the fatal shootings of Sterling and of 32-year-old Philando Castile near St. Paul, Minnesota.

The shootings have stoked racial tensions that have flared repeatedly across the country following the 2014 killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Castile was killed by police during a traffic stop on Wednesday, and his girlfriend posted footage of the confrontation on the internet minutes later.

Sterling was killed on Tuesday during an altercation with two white police officers outside a convenience store.

The series of peaceful demonstrations following the killings of Sterling and Castile have been overshadowed by the killing of five Dallas police officers, who were shot dead as a demonstration in that city was winding down on Thursday evening.

Authorities said Micah Johnson, a black US military veteran of the Afghan war who said he wanted to “kill white people”, launched a sniper attack that killed the officers and also wounded nine people.

Police killed the 25-year-old gunman with a bomb-carrying robot after cornering him in a parking garage, ending an hours-long standoff.