The Days After: A Nation Reacts To The Week's Violence
Worshipers participate in a “United To Heal Prayer Vigil” at Cathedral Guadalupe in Dallas on Friday, in honor of the police officers who were slain on Thursday. Gerald Herbert/AP hide caption
toggle caption Gerald Herbert/AP
People across the country joined protests and held vigils late this week, following two highly publicized police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. As those incidents dominated headlines and social media, a sniper targeted law enforcement at a peaceful protest in Dallas, killing five police officers and shocking the nation.
On Saturday, President Obama rejected the notion that these latest tragedies portended the country’s return to an era of racial brutality.
“You’re not seeing riots and you’re not seeing police going after people who are protesting peacefully,” he said from Warsaw, Poland, where he was attending a NATO summit. “You’ve seen almost uniformly peaceful protests and you’ve seen, uniformly, police handling those protests with professionalism.”
Here are scenes of protest, prayer and activism from around the country.
Since Thursday’s shooting left five police officers dead, several blocks of downtown Dallas have been blockaded, with public access to a large part of the area denied. But at many of the street corners with police cars and caution tape keeping people out, area residents have gathered to sit, think, talk, reflect, cry and pray.
A woman speaks with an officer atÂ a vigil outside Dallas police headquarters in Dallas on Friday. Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
“I don’t know how I’m supposed to be feeling, or what I’m supposed to be thinking,” said music teacher Nora Woolpert, she sat in the grass across the street from one of the blockades. “All I know is that I can’t find a reason to leave, but there is no reason to stay. I don’t know what I’m looking at. I don’t know who I’m supposed to be talking to, or how I’m supposed to process it.”
(Top) A parishioner places a prayer to a crucifix before entering a vigil at Cathedral Guadalupe on Friday, in honor of the Dallas police officers who were slain Thursday. (Left) Dallas police officers comfort each other on Friday near police cars decorated as a public memorial at police headquarters. (Right) Buildings in downtown Dallas are lit with blue to support the police. Gerald Herbert/AP (2); Eric Gay/AP hide caption
toggle caption Gerald Herbert/AP (2); Eric Gay/AP
That sentiment has been present all throughout the city: a need to do something, comfort someone, be comforted, paired with a realization that answers for the hard questions this week raised aren’t yet knowable for many.
Whether it was outside Dallas Police Department headquarters, where thousands had covered two squad cars with notes, flowers, balloons and candles or all over the city as a multiracial group of Dallas police officers comforted civilians, many in the the city came together in mourning.
People attend a vigil outside Dallas police headquarters on Thursday. Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
It was a direct contradiction to some of the harsh rhetoric to be found online — and often in our nation’s politics — over the last few days and months. When a black woman began to shed tears near a squad car, an older white man came to her and wiped them from her cheeks with her hands.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and countless other leaders have said that the city needs to enter a time of healing, unite and start having some difficult conversations about race. It remains to be seen whether all three of those challenges will be accepted, but the “unite” part seems to be off to a positive start in the city.
Baton Rouge, La.
(Left) Protesters face off with Baton Rouge police in riot gear across the street from the police department on Friday in Baton Rouge, La. (Right) Pastor Johnny Young blesses Kaleigh Yates, a first cousin of Alton Sterling, outside the convenience store where he was shot and killed. Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images
In this city where a struggle with police left 37-year-old Alton Sterling dead this week, leaders gathered before a crowd on Friday afternoon, extolling Baton Rouge’s civil rights history and urging citizens to use nonviolent civil disobedience to respond to the recent tragedies.
But things boiled over during protests outside the Baton Rouge police headquarters on Friday night. Frozen water bottles were thrown at law enforcement officers, demonstrators tried to block a highway and at least 3 people were arrested for inciting a riot, according to nola.com.
More protests were scheduled for Saturday.
(Left) A memorial at the intersection where Philando Castile was shot on Thursday in Falcon Heights, Minn. (Right) Activists and community members protest the killing of Philando Castile on Thursday in St. Paul, Minn. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
In the three days since the death of 32-year-old school cafeteria supervisor Philando Castile during a traffic stop, demonstrators have remained calm while camped outside of the governor’s mansion in St. Paul, Minn.
Gov. Mark Dayton has met with the protestors several times and said he will not order that they be removed.
Around The Country
Marchers numbering nearly 1,000 took to the streets in downtown Phoenix, Ariz., to protest against the recent fatal shootings of black men by police. Freeway ramps were closed and pepper spray and tear gas were used. Ross D. Franklin/AP hide caption
toggle caption Ross D. Franklin/AP
About 1,000 people marched in Phoenix on Friday night, and the protest remained calm until demonstrators tried to move onto the interstate, according to The Associated Press. Police closed freeway ramps and used pepper spray and tear gas to deter protesters. A few people threw rocks at police officers hitting their helmets and protective gear, leading to three arrests.
A peaceful march in Los Angeles, led by rappers Snoop Dogg and The Game, ended at the police headquarters, where they met with Mayor Eric Garcetti and police chief. They urged the city’s leaders to push for better relations between authorities and minority communities.
(Clockwise from top left) Protestors in front of the White House on Friday; Rapper Snoop Dogg is greeted by police officer Beatrice Girmala on Friday in Los Angeles, Calif. during a peaceful demonstration; Hundreds held a rally and march along Market Street in San Francisco, Calif; Madia Alluding (left) and her granddaughter Danielette Johnson hold candles at city hall in Portland, Maine. Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images; Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images; Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images; Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images; Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images; Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images; Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
In San Francisco, an estimated 2,000 protesters marched from downtown to City Hall, calling for peaceful protest in the face of violence. In Washington, D.C., hundreds gathered in front of the White House, chanting “black lives matter.”
(Top) People take part in a protest in Grand Central Station on Friday. (Left) A woman holds a sign during a protest in New York City on Friday. (Right) A protester shouts slogans as people march across the Williamsburg bridge in New York City. Demonstrators chanted “hands up, don’t shoot” and “no justice no peace.” Kena Betancur/Getty Images (2); Andres Kudacki/AP hide caption
toggle caption Kena Betancur/Getty Images (2); Andres Kudacki/AP
(Left) A protestor shouts slogans as they march from Manhattan to Brooklyn in New York City on Friday. (Right) Protesters march and shout slogans as bystanders express their support in New York City on Friday. About 300 people took to the streets of New York City to protest the recent police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. Andres Kudacki/AP hide caption
toggle caption Andres Kudacki/AP
People also took to the streets in New York City, starting with speeches in Union Square and then breaking into groups to march across the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn and through Grand Central Terminal, according to The Associated Press.