EL CENTRO — Hundreds of community members gathered Monday at the courthouse here in protest of the recent killings of African Americans in several cities across the nation that are widely viewed as being motivated by racial bias.

The “I Can’t Breathe” rally featured numerous speakers who called for justice, peace and reconciliation, and who sought to distinguish the event from others across the country that have turned violent and destructive.

Hundreds gather for Black Lives Matter rally

Protesters carry signs outside of the courthouse Monday. PHOTO TOM BODUS

Hundreds gather for Black Lives Matter rally

People in the crowd react to a guest speaker's speech during the “I Can’t Breathe” peaceful protest at the county Superior Courthouse on Monday in El Centro. PHOTO VINCENT OSUNA

Hundreds gather for Black Lives Matter rally

A group of women bow their heads in prayer during Monday’s protest event. PHOTO TOM BODUS

Hundreds gather for Black Lives Matter rally

A group of protesters watch from the sidewalk in from of the county Superior Courthouse before the start of Monday’s demonstration. PHOTO TOM BODUS

Hundreds gather for Black Lives Matter rally

Crowd members in the audience listen to a guest speaker at the podium during the “I Can’t Breathe” peaceful protest at the county Superior Courthouse on Monday in El Centro. PHOTO VINCENT OSUNA

Hundreds gather for Black Lives Matter rally

A large group of protesters gathered on the steps of the county courthouse for a group photo prior to the start of Monday’s peaceful protest rally. PHOTO TOM BODUS

Hundreds gather for Black Lives Matter rally

Local Black Lives Matter leader Hilton Smith speaks to those gathered in front of the courthouse for Monday evening’s protest rally. PHOTO TOM BODUS

Hundreds gather for Black Lives Matter rally

Crowd members raise their hands in solidarity during the “I Can’t Breathe” peaceful protest at the county Superior Courthouse on Monday in El Centro. PHOTO VINCENT OSUNA

Hundreds gather for Black Lives Matter rally

El Centro Police Department Chief Brian Johnson speaks at the podium during the “I Can’t Breathe” peaceful protest at the county Superior Courthouse on Monday in El Centro. PHOTO VINCENT OSUNA

Staff Writer Julio Morales can be reached at jmorales@ivpressonline.com or 760-337-3415.

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