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Protests Continue in US over Death of Black Man

Local Editor

More than 200 protesters marched through downtown Baltimore on Thursday amid simmering anger over the latest death of a black male in the United States at the hands of police.

Tensions are running high in the city, after Freddie Gray died of spinal cord injuries on Sunday.

He had been arrested on April 12 and later charged with possession of a switchblade knife, according to a police report.

Protests have been taking place nightly since his death, amid frustration that the circumstances have yet to be fully explained.

“It’s really inconceivable that a young man, 25 years of age, in the prime of his life, would end up dead for absolutely no reason at all,” said Reverend Jamal Bryant, an organizer of Thursday’s protest that began at Baltimore’s city hall.

Videos of Gray’s arrest, taken by bystanders, show police pinning him to the ground outside a Baltimore public housing project. He is howling in apparent pain, before officers pack him into a police van and take him away.

“They had him folded up like he was a crab or a piece of origami,” Keven Moore, who took one of the videos, told the Baltimore Sun newspaper.
“He was all bent up… just screaming for his life.”

Several investigations are under way including one by the US Justice Department. Protesters blamed Baltimore’s mayor and police commissioner and are demanding a full account of Gray’s death.

“No justice, no peace,” the crowd chanted outside the stately city hall, as several dozen police officers watched from behind barricades and a police helicopter flew circles overhead.

Members of Gray’s family appeared briefly before the crowd at city hall, but did not speak. Organizers announced that Gray’s funeral would be held Monday.

His death has made Baltimore the latest flashpoint in a heated national debate about police tactics and race relations, prompted by the August 9 death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Six police officers in Baltimore remain suspended with pay in connection with the case.

Source: AFP

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