Those planning on visiting (or merely driving around) Washington or New York City today may want to consider a plan B. As Reuters reports, “thousands of demonstrators were expected in Washington and New York on Saturday to protest the killings of unarmed black men by U.S. police and to urge Congress to protect citizens. Organizers said the protests would be among the largest over police tactics and the killings of black males by officers in New York, Cleveland and Ferguson, Missouri. “It’s open season on black people now,” New York march co-organizer Umaara Elliott said in a statement. “So we demand that action be taken at every level of government to ensure that these racist killings by the police cease.”
“We need more than just talk; we need legislative action that will shift things both on the books and in the streets,” civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton, whose National Action Alliance is heading the Washington protest, said in a statement.
The Washington protest will include the families of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley, who were killed by New York police; Trayvon Martin, slain by a Florida neighborhood watchman in 2012; and Michael Brown, killed by an officer in Ferguson.
The march will start at noon and block Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the U.S. Capitol. Protesters are expected to arrive by bus from as far away as Florida, Connecticut and Pittsburgh, according to the organizers’ website.
In New York, the march was expected to draw about 44,000 people and was meant to reinvigorate protests that swelled after a grand jury declined to indict the officer who killed Garner using a choke hold, organizers said.