Mayor Bill de Blasio's attempts to soothe a New York City dismayed by the slaying of two officers were further rebuffed on Tuesday as protesters defied his call to suspend demonstrations over excessive police force.
De Blasio led a moment of silence at City Hall in the afternoon three days after the attack on the officers before asking his staff to hug those nearby "as a symbol of our belief that we will move forward together."
Hours later, about 200 protesters began marching through the drizzle and traffic in the center of Manhattan, ignoring the mayor's demand that they suspend what have become regular rallies until after the funerals of police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
The Answer Coalition, organizers of the 5th Avenue march in midtown Manhattan, called the mayor's demand to suspend protests an attempt to "chill" their speech.
Eugene Puryear, a protest organizer, shouted through a megaphon that the group was continuing its march to show "we are not going to allow other people" to control the narrative. Protesters marched behind a large banner saying "Stop Racist Police Terror" as they passed Christmas shoppers and holiday displays in store windows.
Protests against the use of excessive force by police have been held across the United States, reigniting a bitter debate about how police forces treat non-white citizens, a discussion that has drawn in President Barack Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder.
Since Saturday, de Blasio's attempts at unity in New York have been rebuffed by both sides, police unions and protesters.
After saying de Blasio, who has reservedly sympathized with the protesters, had "blood on his hands" for the officers' death, police unions disputed on Tuesday the claims by City Hall that they had agreed to a request to suspend their rhetoric.
"I never had a conversation about silence," Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said in a telephone interview.
Emerald Garner, a daughter of Eric Garner, left a wreath at an impromptu memorial swelling where Ramos and Liu were killed.
"My dad wasn't a violent man, so to use his name to do something that's violent is definitely not something that my father would want," she told reporters.