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New York City erupts in cry for racial justice

Demonstrators march across the Brooklyn Bridge. May 29, 2020. Photo by Thomas Hengge

The murder of George Floyd by  a Minneapolis police officer, while other officers looked on, has sparked outrage across the United States, leading to continued mass demonstrations in major cities.

A demonstrator confronts an NYPD bicyclist officer, May 29, 2020. Photo by Thomas Hengge

In New York, protests began at Union Square on Thursday but were quickly broken up by police, which led to upwards of 50 arrests. On Friday, a larger gathering began at FoleySquare, where demonstrators organized in a peaceful protest, remembering lives lost to police brutality.

Demonstrators gather at Foley Square, May 29, 2020. Photo By Thomas Hengge

From there, they marched through the streets of Manhattan, their route becoming informal, dictated by trying to avoid NYPD bicycle officers how were continuously trying to cut them off and break up the crowd. Tensions rose and heated back and forth led to arrests for a handful of marchers.

Demonstrators march through the Bowery, May 29 2020. Photo by Thomas Hengge

The NYPD was successful in disorganizing the march, but demonstrators were able to regroup at Foley Square, where they then proceeded over the Brooklyn Bridge to Downtown Brooklyn to meet another gathering at the Barclays Center.

A demonstrator gets milk poured on them after being pepper-sprayed. May 29, 2020. Photo by Thomas Hengge

Friction between police and protestors mounted throughout the day, and hours of peaceful gathering quickly erupted into chaos at the Barclays Center, police pepper-spraying the crowd and striking some with batons after water bottles and other debris were thrown. People scattered in all directions, but many returned to collect others blinded by the pepper-spray and push back at police, who began to barricade the area.

Barclays Center, May 29, 2020. Photo by Thomas Hengge

At that point, the NYPD tried to disperse the crowd more aggressively with formations of police officers moving in but were unsuccessful.

After hours of heated confrontation, demonstrators left the Barclay Center and spilled out into the streets of Brooklyn, continuing to clash with police throughout the night.

Demonstrations will continue throughout the weekend and into next week.