Tipping Point? A Nation on Edge After Days of Protests, Hundreds Arrested

Obama to meet with families of slain officers during Dallas visit on Tuesday.

ByABC News
July 11, 2016, 4:39 AM

— -- Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in major cities over the weekend to protest the killings of two black men at the hands of police, even as the country continued to mourn a brutal attack in Dallas that left five officers dead and nine others wounded.

The shooting deaths of Philando Castile in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, set off a tumultuous chain of events and ignited a fierce debate over police tactics and race relations that continues to roil communities across the nation.

A protester yells at police in front of the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters after police arrived in riot gear to clear protesters from the street in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 9, 2016.
Max Becherer/AP
PHOTO: An armored police truck leads a troop of police through a residential neighborhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 10, 2016.
An armored police truck leads a troop of police through a residential neighborhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 10, 2016. After an organized protest in downtown Baton Rouge protesters wondered into residential neighborhoods and toward a major highway that caused the police to respond by arresting protesters that refused to disperse.
Max Becherer/AP
Protesters march to the state Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 10, 2016. People are protesting the shooting death of a black man, Alton Sterling, by two white police officers at a convenience store parking lot last week.
Scott Clause/AP

A call for peace as protests rage on

Police departments, protest leaders and politicians ranging from mayors all the way up to the president have called for peace as hundreds of protesters were arrested in a weekend plagued by civil unrest.

Intense and sometimes violent clashes erupted in several major cities. Overnight, police said, close to 50 people were arrested in Baton Rouge, and dozens of demonstrators marched down highways and blocked traffic at major intersections in Los Angeles, St. Paul, Atlanta and New York City.

Several arrested protesters get processed on the scene after a march on July 10, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images
A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 9, 2016.
Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

'Building on our better angels'

After a turbulent weekend, the White House announced that President Barack Obama will visit Dallas on Tuesday to memorialize the five police officers killed by a lone gunman angry at white police during an otherwise peaceful protest.

Two Dallas police patrol cars are covered with notes, flowers, balloons and other items as part of a makeshift memorial at the headquarters, July 10, 2016, in Dallas.
Eric Gay/AP
Dallas Police Chief David Brown pauses at a prayer vigil July 8, 2016 in Dallas.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Obama plans to deliver remarks at an interfaith memorial service for the officers. His visit to the grief-stricken city comes at the invitation of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, the White House announced Sunday.

In various statements throughout a visit to Europe for a NATO summit, Obama has looked to downplay headlines depicting an ongoing crisis in America.

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about the events in Dallas at the beginning of his news conference at PGE National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, July 9, 2016.
Susan Walsh/AP

"As tough, as hard, as depressing as the loss of life was this week, we've got a foundation to build on," he said at a press conference Saturday. "We just have to have confidence that we can build on those better angels of our nature."