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Flags Burn on the Fourth of July

Newser — Neal Colgrass

Not everyone was barbecuing and having a beer this Fourth of July. Some Americans hit the streets for sit-ins and marches in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, New York, and over a dozen other towns and cities to protest police brutality and shine a light on what they consider a one-sided celebration of freedom, USA Today reports.

Among the protests:

  • New York: AP photos showed protesters burning US flags near the Trump International Hotel in New York City as activists gathered in Brooklyn for a "Confronting July 4th" march and rally.

A Brooklyn organizer praised the words of abolitionist Frederick Douglass—"What to a slave is the Fourth of July?"—saying "so much of it is still relevant. What does the Fourth of July mean to people who are still oppressed, marginalized—who don't have all the freedoms we're supposed to have in this country?"

  • Los Angeles: Dozens of protesters gathered in Los Angeles for a "Farce of July" event highlighting the Tongva, a native people of Southern California, the LA Times reports.

Protesters called for America to appreciate the Tongva "reclamation, guidance and direction in overcoming white supremacy and recovering our interdependence and connection to Mother Earth."

  • Chicago: Hundreds of protesters assembled in Chicago to boycott the Fourth of July and heard speakers recite Douglass' famous speech about a slave's view of Independence Day, the Chicago Tribune reports.

"What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?" the abolitionist asked, per CNN. "I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim."

  • Tallahassee: The Tallahassee Democrat reports that a hundred people protested police misconduct in Tallahassee, Fla., chanting "enough is enough" and "say their names; too many!" as they marched through the streets, some raising their fists in the air.
  • Des Moines: Des Moines Black Lives Matter members gathered at the Iowa State Capital for a protest led by indigenous and black activists, the Des Moines Register reports. They demanded that authorities remove "monuments to white supremacy" in Iowa.
  • Atlantic City and Philadelphia: A Black Lives Matter event in Atlantic City led to seven arrests after protesters blocked the Atlantic City Expressway, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. A Protest Police Terror rally in Philly called for the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is serving life for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer—and heard from Abu-Jamal speaking on a call broadcast over the megaphone. "This is a special time," he said. "A time like someone my age hasn't seen in my many years."

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