Thousands of Americans across the US are peacefully marching against police violence

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People gather to protest in outrage after the death of George Floyd, the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and other victims of police brutality, in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 29. | Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images

The nationwide protests against George Floyd’s death and police brutality, in photos.

Across the country, Americans are taking to the streets again to protest the deaths of black people perpetrated by US law enforcement.

These citizens are using their constitutional rights — “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” — to express their frustration and discontent at the longstanding racial injustices of the US criminal justice system. It is one of the few remedies available to them because, too often, police officers who take the lives of black people don’t face any professional or criminal consequences for their actions.

Many Americans turned out, with the risk to their health coming not only from aggressive law enforcement but also the unprecedented public health threat of Covid-19, to register their anger at their country’s institutional racism. Most of them are doing so peacefully.

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In Minneapolis, a protester holds up a sign addressing America’s ongoing history of inequalities and police brutality.

However, that is quickly not the story being told on television news networks or social media. Instead, instances of violent protest — usually against private property, not people, though there was one report of a man being shot and killed near a protest in Detroit — have become the dominant storyline.

Pictures and videos of fires and physical violence might be of most interest to news producers or politicians who wish to deflect attention away from the underlying problem of police brutality. Scenes of police exerting force against protesters are also dramatic. But in different ways, by focusing on specific conflicts rather than the problems that led to them, these images rob the protests of their context. They are not the whole story.

Those violent demonstrators could redirect attention away from the structural inequities that motivated the protests in the first place — even though these incidents are not yet fully understood. State and local officials in Minnesota said on Saturday morning that many of the people arrested during the protests did not actually live in the area. We are still learning the exact nature of the story unfolding right in front of our eyes.

That’s why it is useful to stay focused on what we do know: police violence is a longstanding and disturbingly intractable problem in American society, and the many people who peacefully demonstrated their distress at that reality deserve to have their grievances heard and understood. They should not have to answer for the actions of the few just because violence attracts the media’s attention, and because political leaders find that violence useful fodder to move the conversation away from the pervasive injustices undergirding the American state.

Because while the protests will end, police violence against black Americans will not. The white now-former police officer who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis has been arrested for murder. The white vigilantes who killed Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia have been charged as well. But no one has yet been held accountable for the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville; the police officers who killed Eric Garner and Tamir Rice were never charged with a crime. History tells us that when a law enforcement officer takes the life of a civilian, they rarely face criminal or professional repercussions.

That is the fundamental injustice that Americans across the nation are coming out to protest — and most of them are doing it peacefully. Take a look.

Washington, DC

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People gather in front of the White House as they protest the death of George Floyd.

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Americans carrying signs and wearing masks gather in the streets of the nation’s capital.

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Demonstrators, socially distant and in masks, rally in a public park hours after the arrest of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

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Protesters assemble in the streets with signs honoring black Americans killed by police violence.

New York

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Hundreds of New Yorkers gather outside of the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn.

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Protesters congregate outside the New York County Supreme Court in lower Manhattan.

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In Manhattan, a protester wears a face mask with George Floyd’s words, “I can’t breathe,” as she demonstrates amid the pandemic.

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Signs bearing the names of victims of police violence are held by New Yorkers preparing to walk from lower Manhattan into Brooklyn.

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On the Brooklyn Bridge, demonstrators on foot hold up signs demanding justice.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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In Minneapolis, people march by U.S. Bank Stadium in response to the police killing of George Floyd.

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Protesters kneel and hold up their hands during a rally in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed.

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People demonstrate outside the Hennepin County Government Center.

Boston, Massachusetts

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In Massachusetts, a crowd of protesters hold up signs about Black Lives Matter.

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A protester in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Near Boston Common, protesters carry homemade signs about police brutality.

Atlanta, Georgia

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Two demonstrators stand on pillars, each holding up one arm in salute outside the Georgia State Capitol.

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Hundreds march following the death of George Floyd outside the CNN Center next to Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta.

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A large crowd marches, holding signs.

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A woman drives a car with a sign on the door reading “No to racist terrorists” as others march beside it.

Houston, Texas

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In the streets of Houston, people gather and march.

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Seen from afar, hundreds march in solidarity in Texas.

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A woman stands up through a car’s sunroof to hold up a sign reading “I can’t breathe.”

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Activists stand and sit on a grassy knoll holding signs about Black Lives Matter.

Bloomington, Indiana

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Activists in Bloomington, Indiana, re-create former police officer Derek Chauvin pinning George Floyd down by the neck with his knee. Behind them, other protesters kneel too, echoing Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest.

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Protesters take a knee outside government buildings in Indiana.

St. Louis, Missouri

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Protesters sit in the streets outside the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, fists in the air.

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Protesters rally with megaphones and signs in the streets in Missouri.

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A man, surrounded by other protesters, holds up a sign depicting a young black man with targets on his head and body. “Hands up,” it reads, backwards, “don’t shoot.”

Denver, Colorado

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Activists, gathered outside Denver City Hall, hold up their fists in salute.

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A large crowd stands outside the Colorado state capitol.

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At the second day of protests in Denver, people hold their fists in the air.

Louisville, Kentucky

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Protesters gather outside City Hall after a peaceful march across the city in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Demonstrators hold fists aloft in Louisville, where EMT Breonna Taylor was shot by police who entered her home with a no-knock warrant.

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Protesters march in solidarity toward Louisville City Hall in Kentucky.

Detroit, Michigan

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In Detroit, people march holding signs with the slogan “No justice, no peace.”

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A woman holds a sign referring to George Floyd’s death as protesters take to the streets in Michigan.

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Protesters hold their hands up and chant “hands up, don’t shoot” while Detroit police officers look on.

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Outside Ballys Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, people gather demanding justice for the death of George Floyd.

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Vegas protesters carry signs as they march along the Strip.

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Dozens gather in the street in Las Vegas.

San Jose, California

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Protesters march in the streets of San Jose, California.

Los Angeles, California

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In Los Angeles, people sit in the streets, blocking traffic and carrying signs.

Oakland, California

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A banner showing cities and dates of past protests is carried through downtown Oakland.

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A man kneels as protesters around him hold up signs in California.

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Two people in masks hold up a sign reading “Abolish the police.”

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