Advocates of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, which protests police brutality and racial oppression, took to the streets of Washington, D.C., and Boston on Thursday morning to raise public awareness.
"We are out here on MLK's birthday to honor his legacy by continuing the struggle," Eugene Puryear, 28, one of the DCFerguson Movement's organizers, told USA Today. "We are still out here doing work, raising awareness that the movement continues.”
In D.C., several dozen protesters escorted by police marched and stood at intersections, chanting “No justice, no peace” and “Justice for Michael Brown, racist cops shut ‘em down.” Their signs mirrored their sentiments with messages like “Stop racist police terror” and “Stand with the people of Ferguson.”
According to USA Today, some commuters stopped to watch the march and take pictures, tying up traffic for about 90 minutes.
Two groups of protesters in Boston also disrupted local traffic, ultimately shutting down Interstate 93 during the morning rush hour for 20 minutes. Protesters demonstrating in Milton attached themselves to heavy barrels, which made their removal by police more difficult, the Boston Globe reports.
Twenty-nine people were reportedly arrested in both incidents and face several charges, including trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Shannon Leary, a spokeswoman for the Boston protest, told the Boston Globe that they were demonstrating in solidarity with people who have protested the police-involved deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and several other African-American men also killed by white officers last year.
“Disruptions wake people up a little bit from their privilege and insulation,” she said. “Things have to change...I personally can’t understand why the act of killing a black child is not enough for people to stop.”
A statement released by the group also stated that “a delay in traffic or on the MBTA is not comparable to the constant state of fear and anxiety created by police in Black and brown communities."
In addition to protesting the recent deaths of unarmed Black men at the hands of white police officers, the DCFerguson Movement also launched a campaign to end the “jump out” policy, which they equated to the controversial stop-and-frisk policy.
“We need to make sure those backing policies [know] how very serious we are,” read a flyer for the march. “There can be no business as usual until this epidemic of police terror, abuse and profiling is ended.”
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(Photo: WBZ News/CBSBoston via Twitter)