Protesters in defiance of city mayor's calls for a temporary halt in demonstrations packed the streets of New York City Tuesday night to seek justice for victims of police violence.

As many as 300 demonstrators gathered at the junction between 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, went down to 53rd Street and marched up to Harlem, a storied neighborhood associated with the city's black community.

Chanting slogans like ""Hey hey, ho ho. These racist cops have got to go" and "NYPD, KKK, how many kids did you kill today," the largely peaceful demonstrators generally kept to the sidewalks of the busy Fifty Avenue.

The protest came hours after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on protesters to refrain from demonstrations until two police officers who had been killed Saturday were laid to rest.

A black gunman fatally shot white police officers Rafael Ramos, 40, and Wenjian Liu, 32, while they were sitting in their patrol car in the borough of Brooklyn.

"It's a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things we will talk about in due time," de Blasio said.

Defying the plea, one of the coalitions organizing Tuesday's march, said Blasio's call "is meant to chill the expression of free speech rights."

"Mayor de Blasio's call for people to suspend the exercise of free speech rights in the pursuit of social justice and civil rights echoes previous government authorities who over decades have told movements to either slow down, cease activities, or be silent altogether," the ANSWER coalition said in a statement.

Earlier in December, a grand jury decided to file no criminal charges in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner. The decision, together with an earlier grand jury ruling to not indict a Missouri police officer in the death of another unarmed black teen Michael Brown, sparked protests in New York and other cities across the U.S, and ignited a debate on police brutality and race relations.

Anadolu Agency