Black Lives Matter protestors on the march

Photo by Lauren Vespoli Demonstrators protesting recent police shootings of black men marched in places across Manhattan Friday evening, including Chelsea, Union Square, Times Square, and Grand Central Station.
Photo by Lauren Vespoli
Demonstrators protesting recent police shootings of black men marched in places across Manhattan Friday evening, including Chelsea, Union Square, Times Square, and Grand Central Station.


From City Hall to Times Square, hundreds of Black Lives Matter protestors took to the streets over the weekend to protest recent police shootings of African-American men: Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and Delrawn Small in Brooklyn.

Sterling was fatally shot while officers had him pinned to the ground, while Castile was shot while he was reaching for his wallet during a traffic stop. Small was shot by an off-duty cop during a traffic dispute in the Cypress Hills neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The weekend of protests and marches kicked off on a rainy Friday evening—the day after a sniper killed five police and wounded several others during similar protests in Dallas. A small group began gathering at the southeast corner of Union Square around 6 p.m. for a rally calling for justice for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, organized by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and the NYC Revolution Club, according to the Stop Mass Incarceration Network’s Facebook page.

A series of speakers addressed attendees from the center of the growing crowd, calling for love and respect, in between intermittent chants of “Black lives matter.”

“It’s not a black and white thing, we just need equality,” said a speaker who identified herself as Kynt Pariah. “We’ve got to keep fighting.”

“You can do more to help us and support us than appropriate our culture,” another protestor said, speaking on what white people could do in the wake of the violence.

“For me as a black woman talking to black people, we need to love and respect each other,” said another woman into the microphone as she began to cry.  “To all the white people who think black people are violent, that’s not the truth.”

While speakers expressed outrage and frustration about the many police shootings of African-Americans, the events in Dallas seemed to weigh on everyone’s mind, as some of the protestors urged the group to obey police orders to stay off the street.

The police had set up barricades surrounding the southeast corner of Union Square, and officers gathered to keep watch as the crowd swelled, reaching close to 300 at its peak.

At about 7:30pm, the protestors began marching, with one group heading to the Williamsburg Bridge, and the other headed for Grand Central Station in midtown while chanting “Black lives matter” and “No justice, no peace.”

After walking up Second Avenue to 23rd St. and back down Third Avenue, the group returned to Union Square by around 8pm before heading west on 14th St. and up through Chelsea on 7th Avenue. More police gathered as the group approached Times Square, but the marchers moved east, obeying police requests to stay on the sidewalk, and arrived at Grand Central Station shortly before 9 p.m. Beneath the clock tower, protestors raised their fists in solidarity during a moment of silence, before heading up the escalators into the MetLife building, and moving west on 45th Stt. The protestors began to disperse after 9 p.m.

There were no arrests during Friday’s demonstrations, but about 20 protestors were arrested among the hundreds that gathered for protests on Saturday night, Gothamist reported. Black Lives Matter NYC had posted on their Facebook page earlier in the day calling for a march to demand justice for Delrawn Small, in partnership with a group called “NYC Shut it Down: The Grand Central Crew.” While some groups marched across the Williamsburg Bridge from Brooklyn, another started at City Hall, marching up Broadway to Union Square, with smaller groups breaking off and some stopping traffic on the FDR Drive. Delrawn Small’s nephew Zayanahla Vines led the protest, according to Gothamist.

New surveillance video of Small’s shooting was released exclusively to The New York Post on Friday, showing Small walking toward police officer Wayne Isaacs’s car when Isaacs opened fire. This footage contradicted an earlier report published in the Post, in which a witness claimed he had video footage of Small punching the police officer through the window.

On Sunday afternoon, hundreds more protestors marched from Times Square down Broadway to Union Square, amNewYork reported, where they conducted a sit-in in the park. No arrests were reported.