PORTLAND, Maine — Hundreds peacefully protested police violence and racism in Maine’s largest city on Sunday, with many ending up on the steps of the city police station following demonstrations nationwide over the killing of a black man in Minneapolis.
The group first gathered at City Hall and migrated several blocks to the police station, congregating on the front steps of the precinct. After five uniformed officers told them to vacate, the group drowned them out with sustained chants, yelling “No” and “No Justice, No Peace.”
Locking arms, many stretched from a cluster outside the station to enclose the intersection at Franklin and Middle streets. At one point, dozens laid face down in the intersection. Half broke off to walk up Franklin, a major four-lane throughway into the downtown area. At 6:15 p.m., several figures lay in the street at the intersection of Franklin and Cumberland streets.
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The protests echo others in cities throughout the U.S. after the death of George Floyd, a black man, while in police custody. Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer who held his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, was charged with murder on Friday.
Dozens of protests were under way or expected across the country on Sunday. They went forth largely without incident, but sparks of crime continued. In Philadelphia, people robbed stores in broad daylight, and at least one more police vehicle was set ablaze.
In New York, a video Saturday showed two police cruisers lurching into a crowd of demonstrators who were pushing a barricade against one of them and pelting it with objects. Several people were knocked to the ground. It was unclear if anyone was hurt.
As of Sunday morning, nearly 1,400 people had been arrested in protests across the country, according to an Associated Press tally. Dozens of cities have issued curfews and National Guard forces were activated in 15 states and Washington, D.C. as part of the response.
Rallies were held in Maine on Sunday in Bar Harbor, Belfast, Brunswick, Kennebunk, Lewiston and Auburn and Orono. More are scheduled to take place Monday in Bangor, Newcastle, Rockland and Farmington.
The Associated Press and CBS News 13 contributed to this report.