More than 600 people marched down Congress Street Sunday afternoon to protest the killings of two black men by white police officers in Missouri and New York as Portland police blocked traffic along the route and escorted the crowd from Congress Square to Portland High School without incident.

It was the second of two marches in Portland over the weekend protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the choking death of Eric Garner after he was grabbed by New York City police officers. Neither of the police officers involved in the summer incidents was indicted by grand juries, triggering protests in cities across the country in the past week.

It was Hani Ali’s third march in two weeks to protest police violence. “We are expressing our anger and outrage at institutionalized racism,” said Ali, of Portland.

Ali and a group of other young women led the march as protesters chanted: “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now. If we don’t get it? Shut it down,” as they made their way down the street.

Sunday’s March to End Violence was organized by the Portland branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Portland’s Racial Justice Congress, and other groups.

It came in the wake of an investigation by the Portland School District last month into an incident that was followed by the resignation of Deering High football coach Matt Riddell. The incident was brought to the attention of the NAACP by a parent of a Deering football player.


Rachel Talbot Ross, state NAACP director and president of the Portland branch, said Sunday she would be meeting with Portland School Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk on Monday .

Ross declined to comment on the incident and the investigation, the results of which have not been made public, at Sunday’s march.

The marchers Sunday had a permit from the city, unlike the 250 people, organized by Portland’s Racial Justice Congress, who gathered Friday night along Congress Street before staging a “die-in” by lying down at the intersection of High and Spring streets.

Marchers Sunday said they braved the stiff winds and cold weather to come together as a community to stop racism.

“It is very important to speak up,” said Anita Clearfield of Durham, who held a sign reading, “Democracy can’t break.”

Ronsard Matondo Koubomba of Portland, who came to the United States from the Republic of Congo two years ago, said he was impressed by the protest.

“It is amazing for me to see all these people,” he said

The marchers piled into the Portland High School gymnasium, where the chants continued at a reception.

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