Despite overnight clashes that resulted in 30 arrests, demonstrators refused to back down in Louisiana. Hundreds gathered outside the shop where 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot by white officers earlier this week.
Hundreds of protesters continued their series of demonstrations on Saturday outside the store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where African-American Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police. The protests outside the Triple S convenience store continued despite a tense standoff the night before that saw 30 people arrested.
Other protesters in Baton Rouge headed to the city’s police department to continue the demonstration. Many carried signs or wore T-shirts with messages like the well-known “Black Lives Matter” or “I can’t keep calm, I have a black son.”
“I’ve been active in the community for years. We have been suffering police brutality for a long time. A lot of racism has been going on here for a long time,” said local activist Lael Montgomery. “I have kids. They need to be raised in a better environment than they’re in.”
Communities demand end to police brutality
Alton Sterling’s death at the hands of two white police officers gained widespread attention after it was captured on a cellphone video. One officer can be heard shouting, “He’s going for the gun!” Sterling was allegedly carrying a firearm in his pocket, though in the video he is already pinned to the ground.
One of the officers involved in his death had previously been on forced leave from duty after a previous shooting of an African-American male.
Sterling’s death came just one day before that of Philando Castile, a black man who was shot during a traffic stop in Minnesota as he was reaching for his driver’s license.
The two men’s deaths reignited the long-simmering debate about police brutality in America, which came to yet another violent head on Thursday when a peaceful protest in Dallas was disrupted by a sniper who shot dead five police officers and wounded several others.
The gunman, Micah Xavier Johnson, was killed in a standoff, but reportedly told authorities before that he was motivated by revenge for police violence against African Americans.
The Baton Rouge protests were joined by solidarity marches across the US and even as far away as London. Organizers have said they plan to continue their demonstrations into Sunday, including a march from City Hall to the state Capitol.