Over a hundred people were arrested across America, including prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson, as protests against the police killings of two African-American men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, continued.
McKesson was active on social media in the hours leading up to his arrest, posting videos and tweets describing what was going on in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Sterling was fatally shot. McKesson’s own footage on the live-streaming app Periscope documents his arrest.
“City police — you’re under arrest,” a man said. “I’m under arrest y’all,” McKesson announced as onlookers asked, “Why is he being arrested?” Onlookers also filmed McKesson pinned to the ground by the police. He was reportedly taken into custody around 11 p.m. local time (12 p.m. EDT).
McKesson reportedly said in a text message from police custody that he and 33 others were in custody together. Their wrists had been tied and they were taken to a police precinct. The charges Mckesson might be facing are still unclear.
Protesters gathered Saturday at the convenience store in Baton Rouge where Sterling was shot dead. There were also protests in front of the city’s police department and at the state Capitol, reports said. Friday’s demonstrations had already resulted in 30 arrests.
“No justice! No peace!” demonstrators shouted outside the police department waving homemade signs as cars passing by honked in support. Some drivers even stopped by with bottles of water for the protesters.
Police officers stepped out in riot gear to clear the crowd. Officers told protesters to stay on the grass and not on the road. The police had a tense standoff with Black Panther activists, many of whom were reportedly carrying shotguns. A police spokesman said two firearms were confiscated and several arrests made.
Meanwhile, in Rochester, New York, the police reportedly arrested 74 people at a similar Black Lives Matter rally. Officials claimed to have made attempts to communicate with rally organizers and were under the impression the protest was ending before the arrests were made.
“We actually started demobilizing officers and ... arranging for some officers to be in the area just to keep an eye on things,” Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli said Saturday. Officers changed to riot gear later and protesters began to surround them and throw rocks, Ciminelli said, according to NBC News.
“At this point... there were 74 arrests for disorderly conduct. There were also two charges for resisting arrest,” he said. Over 400 people were present at the rally, he added.
At least a thousand protesters marched from City Hall to Union Square in New York, closing down Fifth Avenue. The crowd reportedly chanted, “No racist police, no justice, no peace.”
There were also demonstrations in Nashville where protesters briefly blocked roads, and in Indianapolis and San Francisco where protesters reportedly blocked a freeway ramp.
In St. Paul, Minnesota, the site of Castile’s death, protesters took over the Interstate 94 highway Saturday, refusing to leave. The police reportedly said that officers were injured after protesters threw bottles and fireworks at them
The St. Paul Police Department tweeted that people on an overpass were “throwing objects at officers, dumping liquid on officers” and others were throwing rocks. Three officers were injured by a glass bottle, fireworks and another object thrown at them.
In Denver, Black Lives Matter supporters reportedly plan to continue a sit-in through Tuesday for 135 hours, an hour for each African-American person they say have been killed by police across the country this year.
Meanwhile, in Dallas, where a lone gunman shot dead five police officers, a suspicious man was spotted in the police headquarters Saturday evening. Dallas police and the SWAT team searched in vain for the suspect and the department announced at around 8 p.m. local time that no one had been found.
The suspect used an explosive device and a shot gun to gain entry to locked passages, the police reportedly said.