• Black rights protesters gather near illuminated letters spelling "DREAM" outside a house which they identified as the residence of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, in Oakland, California.Reuters
  • High school and college students hold civil rights signs during The King Center's 47th Annual Martin Luther King Jr Commemorative Service in Atlanta.Reuters
  • More than a thousand black rights demonstrators gather to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Oakland, California.Reuters
  • T-shirts with the image of Martin Luther King and with the words "I can't breathe" are pictured for sale during a Martin Luther King day rally in the Harlem section of New York.Reuters
  • People attend a Martin Luther King day rally in the Harlem section of New York.Reuters
  • King Center employee Jade Dowd places a wreath at the crypt of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King prior to The King Center's 47th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service in Atlanta.Reuters

In order to celebrate the life achievements of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, the US government observes Martin Luther King Day as a federal holiday, which is held on the third Monday of January. This year, the day falls on 19 January.

In Washington DC, the US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama led the service to celebrate the legacy and 86th birthday of MLJ, who was born on 15 January 1929 in Atlanta.

While many were paying tributes to the leader at Harris-Stowe State University in the afternoon, some protesters disrupted the ceremony by invoking the death of black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Several demonstrators disrupted the traffic in Cleveland, Seattle, Philadelphia, San Mateo, Washington, Missouri and other parts of the country.

Many carried signs showing respect to Brown, 14, who was fired during an argument with Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on 9 August 2014. Demonstrators also carried signs of 43-year-old Garner's final words "I can't breathe", which he repeated for more than 11 times after a police officer put him in a choke-hold.

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