NEW YORK (PIX11) — New Yorkers were loud and emotional, but their demonstrations were peaceful. Their message was simple: Strength lies in solidarity and the ultimate goal is to effect change.

“What will effect change is abolishing the system that does not work,” Dariel Ali told PIX11 News.

New Yorkers walked the streets of Midtown, chanting the name of Tyre Nichols. The release of video showing Memphis police officers fatally beating Nichols triggered many.

While one group marched north from Union Square, another group gathered in Times Square before heading south.

Nichols’ family and city leaders, including Mayor Eric Adams, called for peaceful protests. By and large, demonstrators on Friday night respected their pleas.

When you consider the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, the rallies Friday were comparatively smaller. However, they were no less emotional and no less vocal.

“There are moments where I do lose hope when it comes to battling this issue and protecting the black population,” Ashley Rivera told PIX11 News.

Demonstrators told PIX11 News they needed to express their emotions and lean on one another for support.

The debate over defunding the police is moving front and center once again.

“Public safety is not the police. Public safety is having enough funds for the programs people need to live,” Diana Moreno said.