PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – A two-day convention of activist groups gathering in Pittsburgh marched through the city’s streets Friday afternoon.

KDKA’s Paul Martino reported about 2,000 people participated in the peaceful march that started around 2:30 p.m. Friday.

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The Allegheny County Courthouse closed in anticipation of the march.

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It’s being called the “Still We Rise March,” a march against hate. It was planned long before Thursday night’s ambush shooting in Texas.

“You plan for the worst and hope for the best,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. “So, we’ve been in contact with our public safety director and our chief since late last night. Right now, our hearts and our feelings are with the victims in Dallas and the families, and also understanding that we have to come together as a community. Violence will never help to solve any problem, and right now, what it’s doing is tearing this country apart.”

Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Department is working with the FBI and other law enforcement in the wake of the sniper shootings that killed five police officers and wounded seven others at a protest march in Dallas.

The progressive groups attending the convention were hosted by the Center for Popular Democracy and marched over concerns regarding immigration, labor, environmental and civil rights causes.

Pittsburgh police said they were using uniformed and plainclothes officers and “extreme caution” to safeguard police and the public at the activists march.

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Among others, they are targeting the offices of the Federal Reserve, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Bank of New York Mellon and even train tracks which the groups say carry crude oil, which is targeted by climate change opponents.

The march ended at Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s office in Station Square. He’s up for re-election and has been criticized for his opposition to immigration reform.

The march began at the city’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center, where the groups will meet through Saturday.

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“The Pittsburgh community is having a productive conversation about the fact that black lives matter. Across the country there are lots and lots of productive conversations happening about the fact that black lives matter,” Erin Kramer with One Pittsburgh said. “There are concrete demands that are being made, and we want to make those as publicly as possible.”

One woman participating in the march said she hoped the march would make a difference, saying, “We have to do something.”

 

“This is an opportunity here, nationally with all the tensions, for Pittsburgh to model a better way. That we, the police, and the community want the same thing, and for me, I couldn’t be more happy,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay said. “I had a great meeting with a number of the leaders of our African-American community. I want to make sure that we continue to build those in-roads and build those bridges because there’s a lot of pain that we have to recognize historically is in policing. We have to acknowledge that pain and then decide how are we collectively going to move forward. And I think here in Pittsburgh we’re doing that pretty well thus far.”

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