New York (AFP) - Thousands of protesters paralyzed parts of New York and Washington on Saturday, stepping up demonstrations across the United States demanding justice for black men killed by white police. The rallies in the US capital, New York, Boston and in several Californian cities were among the largest in a growing protest movement sparked by the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9.
Grand jury decisions not to prosecute the white officers responsible for 18-year-old Brown's death and a fatal chokehold on New York father of six Eric Garner in July, have triggered weeks of protests.
Demonstrators shut down parts of Manhattan and Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue that leads to the Capitol with cries of "No justice, no peace!" "Justice Now!" and "The whole damn system is guilty as hell!" The mixed crowds of black and white, mobilized many young people but also young families, parents and the elderly. They held up banners proclaiming "Stop racist police" and "I can't breathe."
"I can't breathe" were the last words uttered repeatedly by Garner, as police wrestled him to the ground for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes in New York's Staten Island.
Demonstrators fill Rockefeller Center to protest police killings. (Yahoo News/Lauren Johnston)
Their deaths lit a touchpaper on simmering resentment against police tactics in the United States and distrust many black men feel toward law enforcement.
The Garner and Brown families were joined in Washington by relatives of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot dead last month by Cleveland police, and of Trayvon Martin, who was killed in Florida by a neighborhood watchman in 2012。