The Manhattan Bridge going towards the city was shut down. Streets were filled with multiple groups from Grand Army Plaza, the Barclays Center, and marchers who filled streets from Williamsburg to Flatbush.
Unlike Manhattan, the Brooklyn protesters were mostly peaceful, with very few arrests in the borough.
The central gathering place for protesters seemed to be at the Barclays Center where on Friday night, more than 200 protesters were arrested. There were no arrests at the arena last night, though there were arrests across the street at the Atlantic Terminal, where several protesters broke store windows.
The demonstrators began massing at the Barclays Center at 1 p.m., many of those protesters coming from the general community. They stayed peaceful for most of the day as a second gathering occurred there at 5 p.m.
At almost the same time, a gathering of about 500 people massed at Grand Army Plaza, a stage set up and speakers shouted their disdain for police abuses. There were no police officers in uniform present at this demonstration, only a police convoy that passed with light and sirens, but they didn’t stop.
Simultaneously, a group of nearly 500 walked from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to the Barclays Center and combined with the nearly 1000 people present. Again, while there was shouting and chanting, no arrests were necessary. In addition, the NYPD dramatically reduced the number of officers guarding the entrance to the Barclays Center, in reaction to Public Advocate Jumaane Williams complaining that the throngs of officers were “intimidating and oppressive.”
A group of young black demonstrators using a loudspeaker, talked about their experiences with the crowd, some chanting “black lives matter.”
At about 7 p.m., about a thousand demonstrators began yet another march to Prospect Park, walking east on Atlantic Avenue and closing that lane of traffic as motorists on the opposite side. And only a half an hour later, another group of 500 began marching down Atlantic Avenue the opposite way.
The group heading west encountered issues on Nevins Street, where several protesters were nabbed throwing objects at police and storefront. The protesters then turned on that street toward Schermerhorn Street towards Adams Street.
At the Brooklyn Bridge, a large number of helmeted police officers guarded the entrance to the bridge, the fear that some protesters might try to enter lanes of moving traffic. Instead, they rerouted to Flatbush Avenue to the Manhattan Bridge.
At the bridge, protesters were met by large numbers of police officers who at first tried to slow them down, but then allowed the march to proceed over the bridge. That group included Public Advocate Williams who held brief discussions with police commanders before proceeding into Manhattan.
Two young men were arrested at the bridge, both of them were in a car that had come from Manhattan, Pennsylvania plates. Protesters and drivers next to them said the young men were merely honking their horn when they were pulled from the late model Honda at the corner of Tillary and Flatbush Avenue. It was unclear what offense they had incurred to be pulled from the vehicle.
At the same time, another group of nearly 1000 that started in Bryant Park, marched to Central Park, then turned south to Foley Square, then marched over the Brooklyn Bridge walk path and to the Barclays Center. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea complimented the group, he said were peaceful and “walked halfway around the world.”
The group that crossed the Manhattan Bridge then proceeded to Canal Street and SOHO where some protesters looted stores, started fires and broke random windows.
Other incidents reported including a smaller protest in Bay Ridge on 86th Street where several store windows were broken.
Commissioner Shea said protests at the Barclays Center were “not contentious at all and there was very little hostility.” he said there were vastly fewer officers than before, but there were “police in reserve.”
He said this morning that his officers are going in “like surgeons with a scalpel” and looking for agitators and those who would cause violence.
“There are outside agitators out there that are trying to get people to do bad things and we will not tolerate it,” Shea said. “We cannot have large protests where they want to burn down stores.”