Initial days of protests immediately followed Gray’s death, but Saturday’s planned rally and marches are seen as the culmination of a week of grief and outrage over the perceived failure of the police response so far and a chance for the community and outside supporters to come together to highlight and speak out, not only about how Gray was treated but to the deeper tensions his death has brought to the surface.

Despite whether or not it ever becomes known exactly how Gray was injured so severely, the violence he experienced while in police custody—which comes at a time when the national Black Lives Matters movement has triggered a wave of protests and heightened scrutiny about how low-income and predominantly minority communities are treated by law enforcement and the justice system—has now given the city of Baltimore its opportunity to engage fully with this debate. And its residents—who observers note are too often forgotten or ignored—are taking advantage of Gray’s troubling arrest and tragic end to speak to a national audience about what it means to live in a city wracked by crime while also being the consistent victims of an oppressive, and often brutal, style of policing that has become endemic across the country.

As journalist Oliver Laughland, writing for the Guardian, reported from Baltimore early on Saturday:

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