Dozens protest police violence in St. Pete after Tamir Rice decision

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The latest of events to stoke the simmering outrage among social justice advocates over police killings of unarmed African-Americans was a grand jury's decision Monday not to indict the officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice on a Cleveland playground.

Rice had been brandishing a toy gun police mistook for a real one.

While Cleveland has its own ongoing tensions between police and the African-American community (so much so that a New York Times editorial described police presence there as "an occupying force"), activists in St. Pete, namely those involved with the Uhuru movement, gathered at a bus station to call for a fight against what they see as a national — and local — scourge.

"Even with your hands up they kill you, so you might as well go down fighting," said activist Gazi Kodzo into a microphone connected to a small amplifier as activists lined the sidewalk carrying placards. "No mother should feel the way that Tamir Rice's mother feels right now. That's why we're here."

The group comprised around two dozen people, some of whom joined the activists after they exited their buses.

"I don't think it's right," said protestor Linda McQuaid of the numerous heavily publicized incidents of police violence against unarmed black men in recent memory.

At times, the call-and-response protest chants Kodzo recited were more provocative than those typically uttered at such demonstrations. He at times called police officers "pigs" and compared them to the KKK; the event itself was dubbed an "uprising."

"We are here to fight back," he said. "We want freedom, and if we don't get it, shut it down."

For over a year now, activists have used the phrase "shut it down" to inspire their cohorts to disrupt day-to-day activities with such actions like blocking major highways and marching through caucasian-centric events to call for justice for all.

"There's no such thing as business as usual. We are dying like flies," said Gaida Kambon, Secretary General of the African People's Socialist Party (the Uhurus' full name). "We have to stand up. If we don't stand up we will all die."

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