St. Louis protesters demonstrate with peaceful ‘die-in’

BY REBECCA RIVAS
NNPA NEWS SERVICE

About 150 protestors shut down an intersection in remembrance of the 100 days since unarmed teen Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer.

Dhoruba Shakur speaks out against police brutality at a protest at a St. Louis intersection on Sunday. The protest, which also included dozens simulating Michael Brown’s body lying in the street, was in remembrance of 100 days since Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. (REBECCA RIVAS/ST. LOUIS AMERICAN)
Dhoruba Shakur speaks out against police brutality at a protest at a St. Louis intersection on Sunday. The protest, which also included dozens simulating Michael Brown’s body lying in the street, was in remembrance of 100 days since Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
(REBECCA RIVAS/ST. LOUIS AMERICAN)

Two separate groups gathered at the Delmar and Skinker Metrolink stops at about 11:15 a.m. and then marched down the sidewalks on Delmar and Skinker boulevards. At the intersection of Delmar and Skinker, the groups converged and continued to march down Delmar westbound, while chanting to “indict, convict” Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in Brown’s shooting death.

“If we don’t get it, shut it down! If Mike don’t get it, shut it down!” they chanted, just as they stopped right outside of the Tivoli Theater and shut down the street. There, some pretended to be police officers, who yelled at protestors to “Freeze!”

Waiting for grand jury
The mock police then started shooting the protestors dead and yelling, “Get a job!” The protestors fell to the ground and played dead, while others came around and outlined them their bodies in chalk.

“On Aug. 9 at 12:01, an officer by the name of Darren Wilson brutally murdered our brother Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri,” said activist Dhoruba Shakur over the bullhorn.

Their latest direct action comes as a grand jury decision regarding the case looms over the community.

With a “mid-November at the earliest” prediction for the conclusion of the grand jury, an announcement on whether or not Darren Wilson will be indicted for Brown’s death could come any day. Most protestors assume that the case will conclude with a non-indictment.

“Police brutality is happening all over the nation right in front of our faces, and some of us have the privilege of continuing on everyday life as if this isn’t our reality,” Shakur said. “This action is a demonstration. This is our way of showing this is something we can’t avoid.”

‘No justice, no peace’
Shakur said this is something that will be on the forefront of their minds for a long time.

“It should be for you as well,” he said to those watching on the sidewalks.

Joining in like a battle cry, the protestors – who were still lying dead on the street – started chanting, “No justice, no peace!”

University City police officers blocked traffic for the protest and did not intervene. The protestors then walked down the middle of Delmar to Skinker and turned to march towards Forest Park Parkway, shutting down the southbound side of Skinker.

At the Skinker and Forest Park intersection, they formed a barricade of people on the crosswalks and demanded four and a half minutes of silence – representing the four and a half hours that police allowed Michael Brown’s body to lay in the middle of the Canfield Green neighborhood. Brown was on his way to his grandmother’s house when he was stopped by Wilson for walking in the middle of the street.

No police intervention
After the moment of silence, the protestors left the street and moved to the sidewalk. St. Louis City police allowed the protest and did not intervene.

“We are here disrupting the natural flow of business,” said Derek Laney, organizer with the Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment.

“We want people to understand that as long as we have a climbing pile of dead bodies in our community at the hands of cops, then no one’s going to be comfortable. If we can’t be comfortable in our communities with the knowledge that we’ll be able to come home safe, then other communities don’t get to be comfortable.”

This story is special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American.

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