Tens of thousands protest police shootings of unarmed black men.

Tens of Thousands Take to the Streets to Protest Police Shootings of Unarmed Black Men

Tens of Thousands Take to the Streets to Protest Police Shootings of Unarmed Black Men

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Dec. 14 2014 11:13 AM

Tens of Thousands Take to the Streets to Protest Police Shootings of Unarmed Black Men

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Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, helps lead the "Justice For All" rally and march in Washington, D.C. against police brutality and the killing of unarmed black men.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Demonstrators across the country descended on the streets of major cities Saturday with signs reading “Black lives matter!” while chanting what have now become familiar rallying cries for justice: “I can’t breathe!” and “Hands up, don’t shoot!” In Washington, the march was attended by family members of black Americans killed by police officers over the past decade, including Eric Garner and Michael Brown, reports the Washington Post. “My husband was a quiet man, but he's making a lot of noise right now," said Esaw Garner, widow of Eric Garner, 43. Several people went up to Michael Brown’s father, seeking to shake his hand and take pictures. “This means the world to me, to see everyone coming together for a common cause,” he said.

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Thousands take part in the Justice for All March and Rally down Pennsylvania Avenue to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

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(From left to right) Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin; Samaira Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice; and Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, Jr.; join the Justice For All march and rally in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Protesters in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In New York, more than 25,000 people marched through Manhattan on Saturday, according to the New York Times. It was a peaceful march, although two officers were assaulted when a group of demonstrators continued on to the Brooklyn Bridge. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the attacks on the officers were an “ugly and unacceptable departure from the demonstrations thus far.”

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A man is wrapped in chains as people march in the National March Against Police Violence through the streets of Manhattan.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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People march in the National March Against Police Violence in New York City.

Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images

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People march across the traffic-designated section of the Brookyln Bridge.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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Across the country, violent episodes were the exception rather than the rule. In Boston, police arrested 23 people out of approximately 1,000 who marched in downtown Boston after they tried to go past a group of officers who were blocking an interstate.

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Demonstrators face off with police during a march along the Magnificent Mile shopping district in Chicago.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Thousands also marched in San Francisco and Oakland in a “passionate but peaceful” protest, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. After nightfall, however, there were confrontations between police and protesters in Oakland once again, and at least 45 people were arrested as windows of several stores were broken. Fires were set at two of those stores. By 10:30 p.m. the confrontations largely ended, in part due to the large police presence at the scene.

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A woman pleads to be released by the police after she was surrounded during an evening demonstration against police violence in Oakland.

Reuters/Stephen Lam

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.