Baton Rouge protests: Photos shine light on fault lines

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Protests Over Police Shootings Escalate Across U.S.

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.

SEE ALSO: Black Lives Matter activists, journalists arrested in Baton Rouge

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.

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.

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.

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Baton Rouge shooting protests
Demonstrators raise their hands in the air as law officials march down a street during protests in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 10, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 10, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A demonstrator is detained during protests in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 10, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Law officers stand on a street during protests in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 10, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Kerron Stewart, 10, sits with demonstrators on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 10, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
BATON ROUGE, LA -JULY 10: Protesters shout 'Hands up, don't shoot' as law enforcement gather before charging the protesters to make arrests on July 10, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Alton Sterling was shot by a police officer in front of the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge on July 5th, leading the Department of Justice to open a civil rights investigation. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA -JULY 10: People drive past the demonstration honking their car horns in support of the protesters on July 10, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Alton Sterling was shot by a police officer in front of the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge on July 5th, leading the Department of Justice to open a civil rights investigation. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
Police and protesters demonstrate in a residential neighborhood in Baton Rouge, La. on Sunday, July 10, 2016. After an organized protest in downtown Baton Rouge protesters wondered into residential neighborhoods and toward a major highway that caused the police to respond by arresting protesters that refused to disperse. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Police march toward protesters in a residential neighborhood in Baton Rouge, La. on Sunday, July 10, 2016. After an organized protest in downtown Baton Rouge protesters wondered into residential neighborhoods and toward a major highway that caused the police to respond by arresting protesters that refused to disperse. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
A protester yells at police in front of the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters after police arrived in riot gear to clear protesters from the street in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, July 9, 2016. Several protesters were arrested. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson talks to the media after his release from the Baton Rouge jail in Baton Rouge, La. on Sunday, July 10, 2016. McKesson, three journalists and more than 120 other people have been taken into custody in Louisiana over the past two days, authorities said Sunday, after protests over the fatal shooting of an African-American man by two white police officers in Baton Rouge. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
A demonstrator holds his fist in the air outside the Louisiana State Capitol building during a rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 10, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A demonstrator protests the shooting death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 10, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A demonstrator raises his hands in front of police in riot gear during protests in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 10, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Demonstrators stand outside the Louisiana State Capitol building during a rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 10, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Alton Sterling near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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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."

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