For the third night in a row, demonstrators spilled into the streets in cities across the country to protest police officers killing black men.
In New York, where a grand jury declined to bring charges against New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner on Wednesday, several hundred protesters staged a “die in” Friday night in an Apple store on Fifth Avenue and in Macy’s at Herald Square, according to the Associated Press. Several hours later, protesters blocked FDR Drive, a heavily-trafficked thoroughfare that traces the eastern edge of Manhattan, according to Reuters.
At each location, protesters carried signs and filled the streets with chants of “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe.”
Though the protests were largely peaceful, authorities said, there were 20 arrests between 9 p.m. and midnight, according to Newsday. That number was a sharp decrease from a night earlier, when more than 200 protesters were arrested after they brought traffic on the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges to a standstill, according to the New York Daily News.
“This is the largest store in America, and it’s the perfect place to drive home the message: Black lives matter,” Harris Agbor, a 25-year-old Harlem resident protesting in the Apple store, told the paper. “Everyone is energized. It’s electric.”
Similar protests took place in cities around the country, including Denver, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans and Washington.
Among the most vigorous demonstrations were those that unfolded in Oakland on Friday night, where a crowd of protesters blocked Interstate 880. Demonstrators also shut down a BART station, staged a “die-in” that shut down surface transit and “roughed up a store owner,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I was just trying to protect my business and they tried to beat the sh— out of me,” Edwin Cabrillo, a downtown worker who tried to stop protesters from smashing several storefront windows, told the paper. “We put all our money, all our lives into these businesses. I understand what you are protesting — what happened to those people was wrong — but what’s happening to us, that’s f— up. … And you wonder why Oakland doesn’t prosper.”
Protests have escalated in the days following a Staten Island grand jury’s decision on Wednesday not to indict New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner. That decision came after a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. Both decisions sparked calls of injustice and stirred emotions over other officer-involved deaths around the country.
In Florida, demonstrators blocked a bridge connecting Miami to Miami Beach, and in the Denver suburb of Aurora, middle school students staged a walk-out, according to the AP.
“It makes us kids feel unsafe, that we’re outsiders, enemies of society,” Bennie Mahonda, an eighth-grader who is black, told the AP.