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Activists say actions of protesters captured in viral videos does not represent justice movement

PITTSBURGH — Activists said what was caught on a cell-phone camera and shared on social media does not represent the protest movement or the message in Pittsburgh.

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“Those of us who have been activists, those of us who are leaders in our community, all of us, we want everyone to know that it is completely unacceptable behavior,” said Dr. Kimberly Ellis, the founder of Black Politics Matter. “We do not approve. It does not represent us. This is not about coddling white feelings or respectability politics.”

In one video, protesters squared off with people dining outside restaurants on Penn Avenue. In another video, demonstrators became aggressive with the manager inside a McDonalds restaurant.

“This is about George Floyd, Jacob Blake, Breonna Taylor. Keep our eyes on the prize. Let’s focus on keeping the main thing the main thing, and it is the value of our Black lives. We want justice,” Ellis said.

Most protests have been peaceful, and longtime activists said they want to keep it that way.