Al Sharpton Takes Washington

Thousands of protesters attended Al Sharpton’s “Justice for All” march in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. The protesters mobbed Freedom Plaza, just east of the White House, before marching down Pennsylvania Avenue to arrive at a stage set up for activists to vent their anger.

As protesters walked down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol, loud speakers boomed Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and large video screens beamed footage of the crowd.

Protesters were bused in from all over the country; one from D.C. yelled from the stage, “We do not say, ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ in Washington, D.C., we say, ‘fists up, fight back.’” She then demanded that the government “stop the genocide of black and brown people here in America.”

Some protesters, however, were displeased with the Obama administration and the American government writ large. One woman carried a sign with images of slaves and the White House that read “We Built It!”

Other protesters’ motivations were more difficult to derive. Nick, who declined to provide his last name, was carrying a sign that read, “BACON.” He told me his sign was meant to insult police officers because cops are disparagingly referred to as pigs. He did not think his sign needed an explanation.

When the massive crowd finally decided to vacate Pennsylvania Avenue, scores of buses were running nearby to transport the protesters back to the destinations across the country.

The protests in Washington were mirrored by similar gatherings in other cities this weekend, including in New York City and Boston

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