PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Hundreds protested for several hours in downtown Pittsburgh this afternoon.

Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson

At one point, tensions ran high when Pittsburgh police officers showed up in riot gear.

The event began in Market Square at 3:00 p.m.

Then, the group marched down Grant Street and onto Liberty Avenue.

“We want to be at the table,” said Chrissy Carter of Black, Young, and Educated. “We want a table that’s made for us. We want people to step down from positions of power and include us.”

As protesters approached the end of Liberty Avenue, police with helmets and batons stood blocking Commonwealth Place.

Pittsburgh Public Safety tells KDKA those officers were dispatched after receiving word that protesters were headed for the Fort Pitt Bridge.

“For numerous safety reasons – primarily the safety of the protesters themselves – police sought to avoid that scenario,” a Pittsburgh Public Safety representative told KDKA. “Before police could get to the on-ramps, protesters approached them on Commonwealth.”

Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson

The issue led to a standoff between police and protesters, but the situation did not escalate past some initial shoving.

“We’re peacefully marching for our lives,” said Carter. “We’re pleading for you not to kill us anymore and you meet us with riot gear.”

For about a half hour, protesters chanted and spoke to officers.

Eventually, police retreated and allowed the group to turn around to return back up Liberty Avenue.

Pittsburgh Public Safety says there were no arrests made.

This is the second straight day tensions ran high between police and protesters in Pittsburgh.

Friday, police declared a small protest in uptown an unlawful assembly after protesters blocked streets.

In the final hour of the protest, demonstrators sat at Liberty Avenue and Stanwix Street before wrapping up in Market Square after 7 p.m.

Speakers asked for an even larger turnout for upcoming protests.

Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson

“It’s about a world that is possible and a world that is coming to fruition,” said Mia Sterbini of Black, Young, and Educated. “I think the fact that such a strong group showed up today is really a testament to that.”

Shelby Cassesse