Pro-police rally planned for Washington, D.C
Motorcycle police on parade (Jose Gil /

Hundreds of people were expected to march in the nation's capital on Saturday in a show of support for law enforcement across the country and to speak out against what they say is an anti-police climate, rally organizers said.

Supporters wearing symbolic blue were set to start the "Sea of Blue" rally around 12 p.m. at Washington's National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and march to the Capitol, where speakers will address the crowd, said rally organizer Kelly Wince.

Other "Sea of Blue" rallies have been held in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Cleveland, Ohio.

The show of support is being staged against the backdrop of a national debate over the tactics and attitudes of police toward minority groups. Police have come under withering criticism since a string of incidents last year in which white officers killed unarmed black males. The deaths touched off a wave of street demonstrations across the country by protesters who say police routinely use unnecessary violence against black men.

Those demonstrations have petered out in recent weeks after the killings of two New York officers by a gunman who indicated before carrying out the shooting that he was seeking to avenge the deaths of the slain black men. The ambush in Brooklyn in December galvanized supporters of law enforcement and prompted something of a backlash against detractors of the police.

By John Clarke

(Editing By Frank McGurty and Frances Kerry)