PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The sounds of the holiday season were upstaged by chants for justice by protesters in Philadelphia Wednesday evening.
The protesters, angered by two separate Grand Jury decisions to not indict two white officers in the deaths of two unarmed black males — one in Ferguson, Missouri and another in New York — started by staging a “silent die-in” at 30th Street Station. The group laid silently on the ground.
The protesters then took their protest to the streets of Center City.
The march eventually brought the protesters to City Hall, where they voiced their frustration during the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony.
“They’re only ruining it for the rest of the neighborhood, and the rest of the people who want their children to see something like this,” Terri Henderson said.
The chants by the protesters drowned out some of the children who were singing Christmas carols on a stage.
“All these young folks down here, they practice, they put on a good show, and they drown them out with a siren. Why can’t they protest somewhere else?” Carl Brown said.
Some of the protesters attempted to derail the tree lighting ceremony.
“The tree was being unplugged…so we just had to make sure we could re-connect everything and get it going,” Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.
The tension-filled encounter lasted nearly two hours. One man who tried to jump over a police barricade was arrested.
“We’re out here because we want justice. We see people of color being killed on a daily basis, and the cops that killed them are getting off,” protester Evan Hoffman said.
Some of the decorations at City Hall had the words “No Justice. No Peace.” spray-painted on them. One of the decorations had “Mike Brown” on it.
PHOTOS: Protesters March To City Hall
Throughout the protest, there was a heavy police presence, but the demonstration stayed mostly peaceful. Protesters say they have several more demonstrations planned.
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