Die-in held during Boston New Year’s celebration

A demonstrator holds a sign in front of Boston Public Library at a protest against recent police killings of unarmed black men during New Year's Eve celebrations in Copley Square in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON (AP) — Activists protesting recent police killings staged a peaceful die-in during First Night, the city’s popular New Year’s Eve celebration.

Dozens of people briefly lay down in the plaza in front of the Boston Public Library on Wednesday evening while others held signs saying “black lives matter” and “a young black man is two times more likely to be shot dead by police than a young white man.”

Similar protests have occurred in Boston and other cities in response to recent decisions by grand juries in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City not to charge white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men.

Boston police reported no arrests or disruptions to nearby festivities following the die-in. Protesters were expected to join the parade down Boylston Street later.

A day earlier, Mayor Martin Walsh and Police Commissioner William Evans had urged activists to hold off on the die-in, saying it was not appropriate for the family-friendly event.

But participants said the demonstration was an important reminder of how the killings of unarmed minority youths affect families.

“A 12-year-old child was shot down by police in Cleveland, Ohio,” said Stan Lawrence, of Cambridge. “This is a very appropriate place to be because these are the people that need to know about this.”

Cleveland has seen a number of anti-police protests recently, some prompted by the Nov. 21 fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was holding a pellet gun when police responded to a report of an armed man.

First Night, now in its 39th year, draws tens of thousands of people to downtown Boston with a mix of ice sculptures, music, fireworks and other activities. Its emphasis on wholesome, non-alcohol-fueled fun has inspired similar celebrations around the world.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s