A day after protesters blocked the Manhattan and Triborough Bridges, demonstrators once again took to the streets — this time in far greater numbers — to protest a grand jury’s decision not to charge Darren Wilson.
Our reporter Ilyse Liffreing was on the scene in Union Square, where shortly after 5 p.m. hundreds of people — some with placards bearing names of victims of police shootings — blocked the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway and then, in honor of Michael Brown, observed four and a half minutes of silence. Police remained calm, even cracking jokes, amidst chants of “All lives matter” and “We won’t forget,” which caused one demonstrator to instruct the group to direct its chants toward them.
Click through the slideshow to see Ilyse’s photos from the scene, then continue reading below.
At some point, a group marched to Avenue A and East 5th Street, where East Village photographer Pete Voelker, following the sound of helicopters overhead, met up with it.
“We managed to get onto the FDR,” Voelker told us, “and walked south, blocking both lane directions.”
Here’s our footage of protesters as they crossed Bowery and headed east on Houston Street.
At the Williamsburg Bridge, they were blocked by a line of police officers. Voelker shared these shots with us exclusively.
According to photographer, protesters reversed course and walked down Delancey, Allen, and Canal Streets.
They were then able to walk onto roadway of the Manhattan Bridge before police could stop them.
“The crossing was intense yet memorable,” Voelker said. “Majority of the people stuck in their cars were vocal with protesters, sharing their support and often blasting music or honking to keep the marchers motivated.”
“The march made it across with no issues,” the photographer continued. “From there we headed south on Flatbush, passing Barclays Center and then cutting to the north we meandered our way into Bed-Stuy.”
Voelker said the march ended “with a few speeches and a peaceful dispersion of the crowd, not induced by the police. It was an exceptional moment to see such a strong march dissolve without the NYPD forcing them to do so.”
Police weren’t entirely hands off last night: a NYPD spokesperson told us there were 10 arrests. Most were in the Midtown North area, where according to social media another group demonstrated at the UN and took over the West Side Highway. Four people were charged with resisting arrest and 6 with disorderly conduct.