BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Armed with their voices and a message, protesters rally in downtown Baltimore in preparation for the Freddie Gray trials–set to start Monday.

Amy Yensi with more.

The group is calling this the second stage of the fight. They want convictions in the Gray case and to bring attention to what they call a national problem.

With the first Freddie Gray trial set to start next week, dozens take to the streets to voice their frustration–the rally in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in Baltimore and across the country.

“We recognize that we are all in this thing together,” said Elder Cortly C.D. Witherspoon, Baltimore Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

“The issue hasn’t died. It continues. And we want to see substantial change,” said Sharon Black, People’s Power Assembly.

The crowd marching through downtown and speaking out against the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police–from Gray to the shooting deaths in other parts of the country.

Seventeen-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot and killed by a Chicago officer. The recent release of dash-cam video of the October 2014 shooting, sparking massive protests.

Crowds–disrupting holiday shopping in the city’s Magnificent Mile retail district. Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in McDonald’s death.

In Minneapolis, vigils and rallies continue after Jamar Clark’s funeral.

On November 15, the 24-year-old was shot by a Minneapolis police officer under unclear circumstances.

Calls for justice, as the first trial of Officer William Porter is scheduled to begin Monday.

“We have a major issue with the targeting of black and brown and poor people at the hands of the police everywhere in this country,” said Witherspoon.

The group hoping for convictions in Gray’s death, and for similar cases around the country.

This was just a precursor of what’s to come. The group will be rallying outside of the courthouse on Monday.

Stay with WJZ for complete coverage, as the first trial gets underway in the Freddie Gray case. We’ll bring you every development from the courtroom.

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