Thousands continue nationwide protests against police violence

WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) — Dozens of people were arrested Friday night during largely peaceful protests across the United States in response to the fatal police shootings of two black men and after a sniper attack in Dallas that left five police officers dead.

A prayer service was held for the officers outside Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas as officials said community members “are in shock and need an outlet where they can get together with others.”

For several days, protestors have been gathering to demonstrate against the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile in Minnesota. Friday, gunman Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, opened fire on a Black Lives Matter rally to “kill white officers,” he told police investigators. The protests and vigils continued in small and large communities.

Police in Rochester, N.Y. arrested 74 people at a Black Lives Matter rally attended by more than 400 on Friday. Officers donned riot gear after officials made attempts to communicate with organizers as they thought the protest was ending.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said police did not have to use any pepper spray, batons or “deploy any weapons, any tasers,” during the incident.

Police in Phoenix used pepper spray and fired bean bags into a crowd as hundreds of protestors with hands raised yelling “Hands up, don’t shoot!” attempted to march on the freeway.

Three men were arrested for throwing rocks at officers. No police officers were injured but six demonstrators suffered minor injuries from falling or pepper spray, according to police.

One of the largest protests took place in Atlanta where more than 1,000 people marched from Centennial Olympic Park and blocked a local interstate. A small number of people were arrested.

“Today we have had less than 10 people arrested during what has been a peaceful protest. We urge anyone protesting not to enter the highway,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed wrote on Twitter.

Several small protests also took place in Southern California, with no reports of major violence or arrests.

Hundreds of people gathered at one protest led by rappers Snoop Dogg and The Game in front of Los Angeles Police headquarters during cadet graduation. The rappers met with Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Eric Garcetti and were invited into the ceremony.

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