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US city protests over Baltimore police custody death of Freddie Gray

There have been marches in a number of US cities and Baltimore to protest the death in police custody of 25-year-old black man Freddie Gray. Gray died April 19 of a fatal but unexplained spinal injury.

In Washington, a well-organized march on Wednesday by a thousand people ended at the White House, where protesters chanted and held signs reading, "Stop racist police terror." Seventeen-year-old Miyeah Cook said: "I'm just trying to stand up for black people everywhere. Just anywhere and everywhere."

More than sixty people were arrested in New York City after several hundred gathered to protest Wednesday night in Manhattan's Union Square. They chanted "no justice, no peace" and "hands up, don't shoot." The arrests were made when the protest spilled over into the street and disrupted traffic.

Chanting "no justice, no peace, no racist police" and carrying signs declaring "Boston Stands With Baltimore," hundreds of people held a peaceful march near police headquarters in Roxbury on Wednesday evening.

In Indianapolis, there was a small rally with calls for "no racist police" and signs saying "I'm not scared of the apocalypse. I'm scared of a copalypse."

Baltimore

In Baltimore itself where Gray died in police custody

ten days ago, several thousand people marched from the railway station to City Hall. About a thousand then marched back to the station. Watching the demonstration, law student Djaz Baluch Jr said he supported the marchers "a hundred percent."

"This inconvenience is minor compared to the inconvenience people in impoverished communities face every day due to police brutality," Baluch Jr said.

Two thousand National Guard officers have been brought to Baltimore to

enforce a curfew in the city

from 10pm to 5am. Wednesday was the second night of the curfew which began after violent demonstrations on Monday.

Police used loudspeakers to urge the crowds to go home and protest organisers encouraged people to go home and fight another day. Most of the demonstrators were off the streets for the start of the curfew.

Police said about 80 people were released from custody on Wednesday following Monday's protests. Commissioner Anthony Batts said the department would carry out follow-up investigations and charge people as appropriate. The department was required by law to release people from custody if they were not charged within 48 hours, Batts said.

He added that 16 more adults and two juveniles were arrested during Wednesday's peaceful protests. The total number of arrests since Monday has reached more than 250.

jm/bw (Reuters, AP)

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