Protests in Baltimore and other U.S. cities
BALTIMORE – A day after the announcement of charges against six Baltimore police officers, the city — and nation — saw rallies and protests Saturday over Freddie Gray’s death in police custody.
Protesters marched toward Baltimore City Hall from the Gilmore Homes housing project, where Gray was arrested, as similar demonstrations were set for various U.S. cities from Boston to Beverly Hills.
More than 100 marchers — some carrying signs with messages such “Justice for Freddie Gray” and “It is right to rebel” — marched peacefully Saturday through the streets of Baltimore to War Memorial Plaza outside City Hall, where hundreds of others gathered for the rally.
The massive rally, organized by the Washington-based Black Lawyers for Justice, came after a week of demonstrations, some of them marred by incidents of arson and looting.
“It’s sad it had to come to this — burning down places that people are going to need,” said Baltimore resident Aaron Cook, standing outside a CVS drugstore that was looted and burned this week. “Hopefully we get results from this — start treating us like we matter.”
Early Saturday, protesters cleared the streets to observe a curfew. A few demonstrators scuffled with police after 10 p.m. Friday, when the curfew went into effect.
Authorities used a megaphone from a helicopter to warn protesters to go home or get arrested. Police detained 53 people late Friday, including 15 who violated curfew.
By midnight, the streets were deserted as a hush washed over Baltimore’s streets, a far cry from the boisterous honking, weeping and cheers earlier when the city’s top prosecutor announced charges.