Sea of people march on Washington
WASHINGTON (AP) – Thousands of protesters marched down iconic Pennsylvania Avenue today, arriving at the Capitol to call attention to the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police and call for legislative action.
“What a sea of people,” said Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old killed in Ferguson, Missouri, in August. “If they don’t see this and make a change, then I don’t know what we got to do. Thank you for having my back.”
Also speaking were civil rights leader The Rev. Al Sharpton and family members of Eric Garner, killed by an officer in New York in July, and Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old killed in Ohio as he played with a pellet gun in a park.
“Members of Congress, beware we’re serious …,” Sharpton said. “When you get a ring-ding on Christmas, it might not be Santa. It may be Rev. Al coming to your house.”
Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, called it a “history-making moment”.
“It’s just so overwhelming to see all who have come to stand with us today,” she said. “I mean, look at the masses; black, white, all races, all religions. … We need to stand like this at all times.”
Several speakers asked the crowd to chant, “I can’t breathe”.
Garner, 43, had gasped those words before his death while being arrested for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Some protesters also wore those words on shirts.
Other speakers called for a chant of “Hands up, don’t shoot.”