RALEIGH (WTVD) --They described the demonstration on the steps of the old Wake County Courthouse as "collective grieving" about the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.
They said if it can happen in Louisiana, if it can happen in Minnesota ... that it has and can happen in North Carolina.
So, Thursday night, across Raleigh, residents prayed and protested.
"What do you want?!" a protest organizer asked the crowd of about 50 people at the courthouse. "Justice!" the crowd chanted back.
"We need a move of God. I know the cement is hard but get down on your knees," Andrea Richardson said as she led the group in prayer kneeling down on the cement steps.
The group came holding signs filled with anger and frustration over what they believe is the unjustified deaths of black men and boys at the hands of police.
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"Cast demons out of every single police officer that is on the streets who has racist intentions, God!" Richardson prayed.
"If you're afraid of black people...then you should not be a police officer anywhere in this country!" said Mark-Anthony Middleton, of Durham's Abundant Hope Christian Church.
The mood was much more solemn in north Raleigh. A 7-hour long prayer vigil was held at the Raleigh North Christian Center.
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In the wake of the shootings, the church was open to anyone who wanted to pray and meditate. An event offered a chance to curb some of the anger.
DeAngela Perry emerged from her prayer in tears. She says her thoughts turned to the adult-version of her now 9-year old son. She was overcome with fears about his future interactions with police.
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"How in the midst of everything we've tried to teach him, that he could very well end up in a situation such as these other young men."
While DeAngela prayed, the emotions were much louder back downtown.
"I don't feel like praying, just heal my broken heart tonight," Middleton said through a bullhorn. "Tonight, we are praying to get ready to transform our city, getting ready to transform our nation."
Nearly a half-hour through the demonstration, a storm blew through downtown Raleigh. The skies opened up with rain. The crowd ran across the street and huddled under the overhang near the ABC 11 Eyewitness News Center. They continued to pray. They continued to chant.
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