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Protests spread in U.S., demanding justice, against overuse of police force

(Xinhua)    15:56, April 30, 2015
A protester holds a banner on North Ave in Baltimore, Maryland, the United States, April 28, 2015. U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday there was no excuse for that kind of violence that occurred in Baltimore in the past days, calling for the country to do some "soul searching" as the race-related riots convulsed the largest city of U.S. State of Maryland. (Xinhua/Lu Jiafei)

BALTIMORE, U.S., April 29 -- Thousands of people marched in Baltimore, the largest city of U.S. State of Maryland as well as New York City on Wednesday over death of Freddie Gray, demanding justice and protesting overuse of police force.

The crowds massed outside City Hall in Baltimore on Wednesday daytime in protest over Gray, a 25-year old African American who suffered a severe spinal injury and died in police custody on April 19.

The demonstration has spread to New York City where a large throng gathered in Union Square.

The protesters in two cities waved signs seeking justice for Gray, whose death triggered protests that led to violence, burning and looting Monday in Baltimore and provoked a week-long emergency nighttime curfew.

The Baltimore protesters demanded a deeper look at how police treat African American residents in the city. Signs included "End Police Brutality Now," "Justice and Equality For All" and "Stop Police Militarization Killings.

Of the protesters, many were students clad in sports uniforms, t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts from their colleges and high schools.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon that another 18 people were arrested by 8 p.m. Wednesday, following over 200 arrests over the past three days.

In New York, several hundred people gathered at Union Square in Manhattan, chanting "no justice, no peace" and "hands up, don't shoot."

New York police officers are on alert and a police helicopter hovered overhead. Close to the crowds, a police loudspeaker warned the protesters of possible arrest if they are involved in violence in the street march.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said earlier in the day that he was "very encouraged" by the relative calm but warned residents should be off the streets by 10 p.m., when the curfew takes effect for a second night.

Some 2,000 National Guard troops and more than 1,000 law enforcement officers are distributed in streets of Baltimore. They are there on hand to enforce the curfew and maintain order.

"We are just asking for truth and justice," a local college student told Xinhua anonymously. "We want the police to stop brutality, racism and listen to us."

Ten days of protests in Baltimore have focused the U.S. national and even the world attention on the death of Gray, especially after the tension and clash between police and demonstrators exploded into violence on Monday and Tuesday, resulting in injuries to at least 20 officers and arrest of hundreds of protesters.

During curfew execution Tuesday night, some protesters hurled objects at police, and officers responded by firing pepper pellets and smoke canisters into the crowds that were dispersed afterwards when police in riot gear advanced down the street.

The protests on Wednesday came two days before police investigators are scheduled on Friday to turn over their findings to prosecutors. Six officers related with the case have been suspended with pay pending the investigation that could result in criminal charges.

Cheryl Stewart, spokeswoman for Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, told reporters that the findings will not be made public anytime soon.

The state's attorney's office will review the report and decide whether to charge anyone in Gray's death, she said.

Now, everybody is pining for the Friday details, but maybe there will be results people want or maybe they have to wait longer.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Huang Jin,Yao Chun)

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