More than 1,000 people marched through downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday night in a show of solidarity with those protesting in Baltimore over the death of a black man after he was injured while in police custody.
While Baltimore erupted in rioting after Monday’s funeral for Freddie Gray, the Minneapolis march organized by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis remained peaceful.
Organizers said they wanted to show support for “the people of Baltimore who are currently under a curfew enforced by the National Guard after days of protests demanding justice for Freddie Gray,” who died April 19 of spinal cord and other injuries sustained while in police custody.
Other solidarity marches were held Wednesday in cities across the country, including Boston, New York and Houston.
In Minneapolis, hundreds of people began gathering at 5:30 p.m. at Gold Medal Park overlooking the Mississippi River.
They eventually wound their way through downtown along Washington Avenue and across the Hennepin Avenue bridge with hundreds of additional protesters joining their ranks. Minneapolis police officers stayed ahead of the demonstration, closing streets and the bridge before protesters got there.
Black men carrying a black coffin led the march.
“We have a lot of work to do, and we are not immune to the problems that have plagued major cities in the last few months,” Nekima Levy-Pounds, a University of St. Thomas law professor and civil rights activist, said while marching down Washington Avenue.
“Black people in Baltimore have experienced decades of income inequality, extreme poverty, inadequate access to jobs and education and police abuse,” she said earlier in a written statement.
“The cries for justice of the people of Baltimore and around this country can no longer continue to fall on deaf ears.”
Josheynah Fields, 18, joined the march, saying: “A lot of people are oblivious and ignorant to what’s going on. This is one of the ways we can show people. … It’s about black lives right now.”
Organizers and protesters acknowledged the violent chaos that erupted in Baltimore this week. Monday’s riots in Baltimore led to at least 15 officers being injured, more than 100 vehicle or structural fires, nearly 200 arrests and the enforcement of a citywide curfew.
The unrest in Baltimore led Major League Baseball to close Camden Yards to the public for Wednesday’s game between the Orioles and the Chicago White Sox. The result was baseball’s first game ever in which the two teams played to a stadium empty of fans, with reporters and photographers the only witnesses.
The gravity of the riots and curfew were felt elsewhere.
“We don’t have to condone [the violence] to understand it,” said Minneapolis march organizer Lena Gardner.
“We just want them to know that we love them, we support them and grieve with them.”
By the time march ended at 9 p.m., no one had been arrested, according to Minneapolis police.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.