Thousands of demonstrators flooded Times Square Thursday evening to protest of the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old shot and killed by a police officer outside St. Louis, Missouri.
Demonstrators carried banners and marched down busy midtown streets yelling, "Hands up, don't shoot" -- the cry protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, have taken up in the days since Brown's fatal encounter with officers -- as they joined in with protesters in 100 other U.S. cities.
The Times Square rally followed a smaller gathering in Union Square where demonstrators observed a moment of silence at 7:20 p.m. in unison with demonstrators in other cities. Part of the group in Times Square marched uptown from the Union Square vigil.
Protesters said the rallies are a show of solidarity with Ferguson and a condemnation of they say is an epidemic of police brutality against black men, evidenced also in the deaths of Staten Islander Eric Garner in July and Sean Bell, who was shot 50 times by police in a confrontation in Queens in 2006.
"(Brown) was 18; he was fresh out of high school and they left him in the street," said one protester. "Before that, it was Eric Garner, and before that, it was Sean Bell."
Another demonstrator, Antonia Moe, said she brought her 12-year-old son to the Union Square vigil to teach him difficult lessons about race.
"You don't want to stereotype everybody, but I have to send (him) out there and (he's) young," she said. "How do I feel comfortable knowing the people who are supposed to serve and protect are the same ones brutalizing people?"
Police say that five people were arrested on a variety of misdemeanor charges, including inciting a riot and disorderly conduct. Otherwise, police said the demonstrations were peaceful throughout.
The protests in New York and across the rest of the nation appear to be in stark contrast with the unrest in Ferguson Wednesday night, when authorities fired tear gas into crowds and arrested journalists.