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  Protests in US after Dallas shooting

Protests in US after Dallas shooting

AFP
Published : Jul 10, 2016, 6:49 am IST
Updated : Jul 10, 2016, 6:49 am IST

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in US cities Friday after a black extremist shot dead five cops in Texas during a peaceful march against police brutality.

Dallas police chief David Brown prays during a a vigil at Thanks-Giving square in Dallas. (Photo: AFP)
 Dallas police chief David Brown prays during a a vigil at Thanks-Giving square in Dallas. (Photo: AFP)

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in US cities Friday after a black extremist shot dead five cops in Texas during a peaceful march against police brutality.

President Barack Obama said he will cut short a foreign trip and visit Dallas next week as the shooting rampage by a black Army veteran bent on killing white police triggered urgent calls to mend troubled race relations in the United States.

The police found bomb-making materials and a weapons cache at the home of 25-year-old Micah Johnson, a Dallas area resident who gunned down the officers before being killed in a standoff with the police.

While the White House ruled out any link between the gunman and known “terrorist organisations,” Johnson’s Facebook page ties him to several radical black movements listed as hate groups.

Johnson told negotiators before he died that he wanted to kill white cops in retaliation for the recent fatal police shootings of two black men.

The shooting revives an emotional debate over the lethal use of force by the police, and problems of alleged police bias towards racial minorities.

Vast crowds marched Friday in US cities, including Houston, New Orleans, Detroit, Baltimore, and San Francisco. One of the largest was in Atlanta, where protesters blocked a major road.

In Phoenix, the police in riot gear used pepper spray to disperse a large crowd blocking streets after rocks were hurled at them. At least one person was arrested.

Addressing a prayer service honouring the fallen officers, Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings urged Americans to “step up” to heal the country’s racial wounds.

“We will not shy away from the very real fact that we as a city, as a state, as a nation are struggling with racial issues,” he told the crowd.

Mr Obama, who ordered flags on government buildings lowered to half-mast for five days, said that there was “no possible justification” for violence against police. The President commented on the attacks from Warsaw, where he was attending a Nato summit. He condemned the shootings as “vicious, calculated and despicable.

Mr Rawlings echoed Mr Obama’s message that black lives matter — and so do “blue” lives, those of police officers.

“We must step up our game and approach complicated issues in a different way,” Mr Rawlings said. “And race is complicated.”

Mr Obama, who ordered flags on government buildings lowered to half-mast for five days, said that there was “no possible justification” for violence against police.

The President commented on the attacks from Warsaw, where he was attending a Nato summit. He condemned the shootings as “vicious, calculated and despicable.”

Location: United States, Texas, Dallas