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Baton Rouge Protests: Photos Shine Light on Fault Lines

Striking images of protesters facing off with heavily-armed police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana have been shared around the world.
Image: A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
A woman, identified in some reports as New York nurse Ieshia Evans, was detained in Baton Rouge Saturday.JONATHAN BACHMAN / Reuters

It's the image that is defining a protest movement.

A woman in an elegant summer dress is photographed standing defiantly against a line of Baton Rouge police officers.

Taken by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters, the photo was being hailed Monday as one of the most significant news images of recent times, capturing a powerful moment that illustrates America’s racial fault lines.

The woman in the picture is reportedly Ieshia Evans, a 28-year-old nurse from New York. NBC News could not independently verify her identity early Monday.

“It wasn’t very violent. She didn’t say anything,” Bachman told The Atlantic. “It’s representative of the peaceful demonstrations that have been going on down here.”

Hundreds of people were arrested in the Louisiana capital and elsewhere across the country over the course of the weekend. Casey Rayborn Hicks, of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, told NBC News that 50 were held there Sunday night charged with obstructing a roadway. Seven of the 50 were from the local area, he said.

Image: DeRay Mckesson
Prominent campaigner DeRay Mckesson was arrested on Saturday.Max Becherer / AP

Police said 30 were arrested and Friday night, and more than 100 others were held on Saturday. Among those was DeRay Mckesson, who rose to prominence with the Black Lives Matter movement after the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

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A picture of him kneeling during his arrest, taken by freelance photographer Max Becherer for The Associated Press, was also shared widely on social media.

Racial tensions have risen since the fatal shootings by police last week of 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile, 32, in suburban Minneapolis, and the gunning down early Friday of five white police officers by a black gunman in Dallas.

Image: A man protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained on Saturday
A man protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department on Saturday.JONATHAN BACHMAN / Reuters

Police detained 74 people at a Black Lives Matter rally in Rochester, New York, late Friday, while three were arrested by Georgia State Patrol officers during a protest in Atlanta.

Sunday night's arrests in Baton Rouge occurred blocks from a church where thousands of protesters rallied, then marched to the Capitol and back without any arrests. State police Major Doug Cain said about 2,000 people were in that group which "seemed to be very organized and peaceful."

"Arrests were inevitable," Col. Michael Edmonson, supervisor of the Louisiana State Police, said in a statement Sunday. "Our troopers maintained their poise and demeanor and focused on the job at hand, all the while enduring angry epithets and an occasional water bottle hurled from inside the crowd."