For the fifth consecutive night, marchers protesting the deaths of black men by police around the country demonstrated in Philadelphia, this time the Black Lives Matter-inspired group taking to Market Street from West Philadelphia to Penn’s Landing on Sunday.
Police said about 90 protesters gathered at 40th and Market Streets as darkness fell. They were accompanied by a police motorcade as they chanted and held signs aloft such as “Unite or Die,” gaining strength to about 150 by the time they reached Penn’s Landing. (Complete recap of event here.)
“No good cops in a racist system,” participants chanted as they approached 20th Street. “No more protests, just revolution,” as they got to 17th Street.
— Patrick deHahn (@patrickdehahn) July 11, 2016
Blacks and whites marched together, at one point stopping at 15th and Market to clasp hands in a circle that blocked traffic at the intersection. Speakers took turns using a megaphone to call for unity.
Protest leader Nelson Serrano, 50, of Camden said they will march again at 4 p.m. Wednesday, hoping to gather a crowd of 1,000 at City Hall.
Noel Baptist, 21, from North Philadelphia, explained why she joined the Sunday night protest.
“I’m marching today because police brutality needs to stop. If people don’t think racism doesn’t have an effect, they don’t know American history.”
One speaker urged people to educate themselves and to vote. Another criticized the media for “spreading lies.”
Tijuan Moore, 25, of South Philadelphia, said he strongly believes in education and personal responsibility.
“We can’t ask the government what we can’t demand of ourselves,” he said, adding that everyone needs to chip in if schools are failing.
The tone of the demonstration was markedly less tense than the demonstration Saturday night, in which several hundred marchers staged what they called a “weekend of rage” protest organized by the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice. Several participants confronted police at the combined 24th and 25th District police facility in North Philadelphia.
Many screamed profanities and insults, cursing officers at close range, while the officers stood quietly with little evident reaction. There were no arrests on Saturday.
Protests have erupted around the country since the fatal shootings by police last week of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., on Tuesday, and of Philando Castile near St. Paul, Minn., on Wednesday. A demonstration in Dallas on Thursday night was ripped by sniper gunfire, which killed five white police officers and wounded seven other officers and two civilians.
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