In a show of solidarity with the city of Baltimore, New Yorkers took to the streets on Wednesday (April 29) in a massive march for justice.
While violent tensions eased in Baltimore after Tuesday night-- thanks in part to a police-enforced 10 p.m. curfew-- New York staged its own protest on behalf of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died while in police custody. The march began in Union Square, where thousands of protesters chanted the phrase "Black Lives Matter" and carried signs that emphasized their support.
As the march gained momentum, the enormous crowd diverged into several groups; some protesters headed toward Times Square, some toward the Hudson River. The West Side Highway was even blocked for a brief period of time. Dozens of arrests were made, and many protesters shared their experiences on Twitter.
Carlos Salguero, Jr. of New York punk band Big Ups shared his experience of the protest with MTV News. According to Salguero, the mood was "generally positive" as he arrived in Union Square early Wednesday evening.
"The crowds really started to gather around 6 PM... there were a lot of initial human microphone 'mic checks' and subsequent chants of 'No justice/No peace' and 'Who do these streets belong to?' The daughter of Eric Garner spoke, the niece of Akai Gurley spoke. It was MC'd by two young women from the MillionsMarchNYC group.
"There was a bit of tension at some point during the middle of the rally as white photographers, camera and soundmen, and reporters-- all white males from what I could see-- seemed to be really encroaching hard towards the speakers and getting too close to other people who were there to hear the speakers," he explained. "A particularly strong piece of rhetoric that I remember is a speaker who said that while the 'NYPD could manage to capture and sedate a wild coyote,' they couldn't do the same for black males."
"I left rally after the speakers and before the march, but from talking to some of my friends who were there, about 100 people were arrested for crossing onto the street."