Black Lives Matter protesters return to the streets, condemn Dallas violence

(CNN) – Protesters across the nation marched peacefully, decrying police brutality over the killing of two African-American men this week. They wept, held signs and chanted, “Black Lives Matter.”

The Friday protests came a day after a sniper killed five police officers during a demonstration in Dallas.

Crowds gathered for an interfaith prayer vigil in Dallas to honor the police officers, CNN affiliate KTRK reported.

Black Lives Matter condemned the violence in the Dallas attack, calling the attack a tragedy not just for those affected but the nation as well.

“Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it. Yesterday’s attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman. To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible. We continue our efforts to bring about a better world for all of us.”

Friday’s anti-police brutality demonstrations were held in several cities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans, Nashville, Phoenix, San Francisco and New York.


In a violent, angry America, a plea for peace

Now Dallas: a shameful attack on the rule of law itself, with five officers dead and seven wounded in the course of duty during what had been a peaceful protest against police violence in America.

And so many difficult but important questions arise. What have we become? Are we a people at war with ourselves, unable or unwilling to control our most violent urges? Must we settle every dispute with a gun or a bomb? Who is responsible for this mayhem that plays out on many fronts?

The outrage in Dallas comes in the immediate wake of killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota by police officers: I shook as I watched those videos, filled as much with wonder as rage. Like many, I will never forget the eerily calm voice of Diamond Reynolds as she spoke to the officer over the bleeding body of her boyfriend: “You shot four bullets into him, sir.” She used that word “sir” again and again: a mind-bending combination of subservience and defiance.

What’s going on here? Has our mad gun culture mixed in fatal ways with deeply ingrained American racism? Are we destined to play out the Civil War in every generation? Have we really blown our chance of living in a calm, integrated, respectful society where every voice has value?

It’s especially painful when police are killed in the course of duty. They go about their hard work with seriousness, in good faith, but can seem at a loss to deal with the violence that is everyday fare in a country where there are many more guns than people, and with few rules in place about their use.

And the cops get no help from Congress, which refuses even to consider the possibility of regulating weapons, even in the face of repeated bloodbaths on American streets.
So now we have it, that dreadful thing: Americans are indeed at war with each other on many fronts. Not surprisingly, this conflict inhabits our political rhetoric, which has become increasingly debased, even childish.

We quickly blame the other guy: the Mexican or Wall Streeter, the immigrant, Muslims, “millionaires and billionaires.” In our confusion and malaise, we have become a deeply angry nation. As such, we reach for scapegoats, and they’re easy to find. Anyone who doesn’t look or sound like ourselves becomes suspicious.