Blackout DC protest shuts down major highway

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American protesters with the “Black Lives Matter” movement have railed against racial discrimination and police violence in the nation’s capital, blocking traffic on a major highway.

As part of the Blackout DC demonstration, the protesters blocked traffic on Interstate 395 en route to the Capitol on Saturday and chanted slogans condemning police violence against African Americans.

The campaign, organized on social media, seeks to raise awareness for “black unity, equality and strategies to combat state-sanctioned, racially motivated violence against black people,” according to the organizers.

Dozens of people posted photos and messages about the protest on Twitter, showing signs that read, “Stop racist police terror,” “Black skin is not a sin” and “I’m not a target.”

Among the demonstrators was Deray McKesson, a high-profile activist who was arrested earlier this week in Ferguson, Missouri, where protesters marked the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a white police officer.

The Blackout DC protest is the latest in a string of such events held across the country in recent months against racial inequality and police brutality.

Tensions remain high between African Americans and law enforcement in the US over the questionable deaths of several black people at the hands of police in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Cleveland and elsewhere.

US President Barack Obama said Saturday that work remains on improving relations between police and communities of color in the country.

“Over the past year, we’ve come to see, more clearly than ever, the frustration in many communities of color and the feeling that our laws can be applied unevenly,” he said during his weekly address.

Obama said he has convened a task force of police officers, activists and academics to “build up trust and cooperation between communities and police.”

Data compiled by The Washington Post has indicated that US police have shot dead more than 600 people across the country so far this year.

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