(NEW YORK) — Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in major cities over the weekend to protest the killings of two black men at the hands of police, even as the country continued to mourn a brutal attack in Dallas that left five officers dead and nine others wounded.
The shooting deaths of Philando Castile in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana set off a tumultuous chain of events and ignited a fierce debate over police tactics and race relations that continues to roil communities across the nation.
Police departments, protest leaders and politicians ranging from city mayors all the way up to the President have called for peace, as hundreds of protesters were arrested in a weekend plagued by civil unrest.
Intense, and sometime violent clashes erupted in several major cities. Overnight, police said close to fifty people were arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while dozens of demonstrators marched down highways and blocked traffic at major intersections in Los Angeles, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Atlanta and New York City.
Following a turbulent weekend, the White House announced that President Obama will visit Dallas on Tuesday to memorialize the five police officers killed by a lone gunman angry at white police during an otherwise peaceful protest.
Obama plans to deliver remarks at an interfaith memorial service for the officers. His visit to the grief-stricken city comes at the invitation of Dallas Mayor Rawlings, the White House announced Sunday.
In various statements throughout his European visit, Obama has looked to downplay headlines depicting an ongoing crisis in America.
“As tough, as hard, as depressing as the loss of life was this week, we’ve got a foundation to build on,” Obama said in a press conference Saturday. “We just have to have confidence that we can build on those better angels of our nature.”
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