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Garner protesters greet royals at Barclays Center

The Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

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PROVOCATIVE COMPARISON: A protester’s sign accuses police and prosecutors of maintaining a separate and unequal justice system.
2/11
JUST IN CASE: NYPD Counterterrorism officers monitor protesters.
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THIS GUY: An extensively inked activist voices his displeasure.
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HOLDING THE LINE: A line of officers bars demonstrators from marching down Flatbush Avenue towards the Manhattan Bridge.
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SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Protesters make their feelings about the police clear.
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MODERN-DAY JOHN CARLOS: Lebron James warms up in a shirt commemorating Eric Garner’s death.
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MEANWHILE: Fans react as the world’s most famous welfare recipients Kate Middleton and Prince William arrive courtside at the Nets game.
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IS THAT ALLOWED: Kate Middleton and Prince William, watch Lebron James work his magic, and wonder why he isn’t kicking the ball. Joining the royal couple is NBA great Dikembe Mutombo, right.
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ON THE BIG SCREEN: The royal couple say hi to the fans.
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KING HOV AND QUEEN BEY: Brooklyn royalty Jay Z and Beyonce stride regally across the court at Barclays Center to greet the visiting monarchs.
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NICE TO MEET YOU: The two couples have a very natural, private conversation.

They were royally pissed.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Barclays Center on Monday night for a fifth straight night of protests following a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing Gowanus native Eric Garner by choking him and holding him facedown on Staten Island — only this demonstration coincided with a visit by Prince William and Kate Middleton. One protester said the marches are still going because the system has failed black people.

“I’m out here to demand justice,” said Derrick West, of Park Slope, as the crowd marched down Atlantic Avenue toward Smith Street. “We are tired of speaking and having no one listen.”

The crowd of protesters didn’t dramatically disrupt the Nets game against Lebron “King” James’s Cleveland Cavaliers, but James and several Nets players, including Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams, brought the activists’ message to the court, warming up in black shirts that read, “I can’t breathe,” the phrase Garner wheezed repeatedly as Pantaleo took him down. Brooklyn royalty Jay Z and Beyonce were also in attendance, and King Hov took time out to pose with the politicized Nets players ahead of the game.

Outside, more than 500 activists assembled, many galvanized by the Twitter topic “#royalshut­down” and seeking to capitalize on the media attention being paid to the English royals’ visit. The crowd staged a silent “die-in” in the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, then moved across the street to Atlantic Terminal mall, where protesters roved from store to store, disrupting shoppers, according to reports.

Police arrested three people outside the arena that evening, one for assault, according to a police spokeswoman.

Just before 10:30 pm, the 150 remaining protesters set off down Atlantic Avenue. Some cars stuck in traffic honked in support, and at one point the protesters paused for a moment outside the House of Detention to relay their solidarity to the prisoners inside, chanting, “We’re here for you!”

The march wound its way through Downtown and Brooklyn Heights then, with its ranks numbering about 100, attempted to cross the Manhattan Bridge on the Brooklyn-bound roadway. Police barred the path and, after a standoff, the protesters turned around and left the borough the legal way, on the pedestrian walkway, chanting “I can’t breathe” as they went.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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