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Protests Shut Down Major Pittsburgh Roads

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pittsburgh Police said there were no arrests Friday night after as many as 400 to 500 demonstrators temporarily forced the closing of a section of the Parkway East, Carson Street, the Smithfield Street Bridge and several other roads.

The closings were the result of demonstrators, chanting phrases like "hands up, don't shoot," and "shut it down, shut it down."

The demonstrations began peacefully and remained so for about an hour. However, by 6 p.m., demonstrators had blocked off Forbes Avenue and were beginning to march toward Fifth Avenue.

By nearly 7 p.m., protesters had made their way to the Parkway East. Traffic was backed up on the Parkway East inbound side, with cars at an apparent standstill. Traffic remained backed up for at least an hour.

They marched from near the Pitt campus in Oakland onto the Parkway East inbound, then down Fort Pitt Boulevard, over the Smithfield Street bridge and onto Carson Street.

Protestor Nikko O'Brien told KDKA-TV News "you hear opinions, you hear the chants; when is the police brutality going to stop?"

Protest organizers say they have plans to demonstrate tomorrow at Ross Park Mall.

The mall issued a statement Friday in light of the planned protest:

We are aware of a demonstration focused on events in Ferguson and New York is planned for Ross Park Mall on Saturday.

We respect anyone's right to assemble on public property, however our shopping center is private property. Our first concern is to maintain a welcoming and safe environment for tenants and guests. Our ongoing policy has been that demonstrations and protests are not permitted on mall property.

We appreciate that the mall is viewed as a community gathering space, however, in light of our policy, we have been speaking with the demonstration organizers today to request they move their event to public property.

In the event that a demonstration would develop, the mall will focus on maintaining a welcoming and safe environment for our tenants and guests.

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