Barack Obama will meet relatives of police officers killed in Dallas as demonstrations continue


Barack Obama will meet relatives of the five police officers killed in Dallas when a gunman opened fire on a protest march, the White House said.

The news comes as around 130 people were arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as protests against the police force continue.

The White House said Obama plans to "personally express the nation's support and gratitude" for the service and sacrifice of the dead officers, and will meet privately with the officers' relatives.

United States President Barack Obama gestures during a press conference ending the second day of the NATO Summit, in Warsaw, Poland.
(Alik Keplicz/AP)

He will also deliver remarks at an interfaith memorial service at the Morton H Meyerson Symphony Centre.

Demonstrations have been held nationwide following the deaths of 32-year-old Philando Castile in St Paul and 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge.

Protests are continuing, and there have been hundreds of arrests, and reports of violence at some of the demonstrations.

People march in a Black Lives Matter rally in Oklahoma City, Sunday, July 10, 2016.
(Sue Ogrocki/AP)

DeRay Mckesson, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist who spent the night in jail after a demonstration, said: "I remain disappointed in the Baton Rouge police, who continue to provoke protesters for peacefully protesting.

"There's a lot of work to be done, with this police department specifically."

However, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said he does not believe officers have been overly aggressive by using riot gear to push protesters off a highway.

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, La., Saturday, July 9, 2016.
(Max Becherer/AP)

"The police tactics in response have been very moderate. I'm very proud of that," he said.

Seven officers were also injured on Thursday when Micah Johnson attacked the Dallas march.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the authorities believe Johnson had been intending to carry out an attack for a long time.

He said Johnson had material for explosives in his home and talked of using IEDs (improvised explosive devices) during a police stand-off that followed the shootings.

Dallas police officers keep watch over a makeshift memorial at the police headquarters, Sunday, July 10, 2016, in Dallas.
(Eric Gay/AP)

Johnson taunted the authorities during two hours of negotiations, laughing at them, singing and at one point asking how many officers he had shot.

The black Army veteran insisted on speaking with a black negotiator and wrote in blood on the wall of a parking garage where police cornered and later killed him, Dallas police chief David Brown said.

Brown defended the decision to kill Johnson with a bomb delivered by remote-controlled robot, saying negotiations went nowhere and officers could not approach him without putting themselves in danger.