Protesters march across Outerbridge Crossing on way to Washington, D.C.

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Kemberly Richardson reports from Staten Island. (WABC)

Protesters on Monday marched across one of the bridges connecting New Jersey and Staten Island, prompting the Port Authority to temporarily close the westbound lanes of the Outerbridge Crossing at 11 a.m. for the "March2Justice."

Scores of people mobilized on Staten Island, home to Eric Garner, before a group of 50 -- the maximum amount permitted on the Outer Bridge Crossing -- walked over the crossing.

The Port Authority approved the one-hour lane closure to accommodate the 250-mile march on foot from Staten Island to Washington, set to end on Tuesday, April 21.

The march is aimed at promoting legislation to change the juvenile justice system, prohibit the use of profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin or religion by law enforcement agencies, and demilitarize police forces.

"We need the national spotlight and the international spotlight to be on criminal justice reform and police accountability and this march is basically meant to do that," march organizer Tamika Mallory said. "We're also going to Congress to ask them to act on legislation that we believe will help to deal with the crisis. You can't get racism out of people's minds but you can certainly train them that it's not accepted in this country."

Organizers say they hope to shine the international and national spotlight on police accountability and criminal justice reform. The core group of 100 will make their way south, sleeping in churches and community centers along the way.

"I'm marching for my ancestors and I'm marching for my children, my grandchildren," protester Stan Mallory said. "I'm even marching for those who haven't been born yet."

Midspan, City Councilman Jumaane Williams tweeted pictures.

"We're connecting cities that have similar problems, and we're doing it in a way that, one, is as constructive as possible and making sure you're voice is felt, which is important," he said.

In a joint statement, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, State Sen. Andrew Lanza, Assemblyman Joseph Borelli, Council Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio and Councilman Steven Matteo, all Republicans, condemned the march and blasted the Port Authority's decision to accommodate it.

One of the march's organizers responded that the borough's elected officials were more concerned with traffic than the July 17 death of Eric Garner in police custody.
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