Demonstrators brought Dupont Circle to a standstill for more than half an hour on Wednesday night as they linked arms around the circle and blocked adjacent streets while chanting about police, race and the deaths of two black men.
Shouting chants such as “No justice, no peace. No racist police” and carrying signs including “Indict the system” and “Black lives matter,” at least 100 people marched from the White House to Dupont Circle. Within 10 minutes of arriving there, they had blocked traffic at all intersections around the circle.
Nearly an hour later, most of the protesters continued north to Adams Morgan, where they again stopped traffic at 18th Street and Columbia Road.
There have been protests in the city nearly every day since Nov. 24, when a Missouri grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
On Wednesday night, demonstrators added a second incident — the death of Eric Garner, who was placed in a chokehold by police on Staten Island in July — to their protest after a New York grand jury declined to indict an officer in that case.
During the Dupont Circle demonstration, many drivers exchanged heated words with protesters. The driver of one car managed to enter the circle, then got out and started arguing with a group of about a dozen protesters. The protesters accused the man of nearly running over some of the demonstrators.
About six police officers told the man to get back in his car, then escorted his Mini Cooper out of Dupont Circle.
As of 10 p.m., no arrests had been reported.
Late Wednesday night, about a half-hour after authorities had shut down northbound lanes of Interstate 395 near the entrance to the Third Street Tunnel, a few protesters briefly shut down the southbound lanes of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway.
In Alexandria, the Alfred Street Baptist Church decided to host a march to the Alexandria courthouse rather than the church’s ordinary service geared toward young adults on the first Wednesday night of each month.
According to church members, hundreds of congregants, mostly between the ages of 18 and 40, walked to the courthouse, where they prayed and sang hymns including “We Shall Overcome” and “This Little Light of Mine.”
Alexandria police said the gathering lasted about 15 minutes and did not cause any road closures.
Shortly before 10 p.m., many of the protesters in the District seemed to be dispersing, with several dozen others headed from Adams Morgan toward the city center.
During the D.C. march, one of the organizers, who said she was part of a group called Think Moor, spoke to the group. “They’re killing us in the streets — and it is being caught on camera — and no one cares,” said Toni Sanders, 31, of Northwest Washington.
Anson Obayuwana, 31, a lawyer from Virginia, shouted back at cars that honked when they encountered the delay. “I’m glad you’re inconvenienced,” he yelled. “It’s inconvenient to get shot in the street. That’s why we’re here.”
Caitlin Moore and Victoria St. Martin contributed to this report.