When protests turn to almost-riots and protesters block highways it becomes a severe issue not only for police but for the demonstrators as well. When the officer involved in the shooting of Philando Castile was found not guilty, angry mobs took to the streets to show their rage at what they called an unfair verdict.
The protesters made their way onto the major interstate and decided to block it as we have seen in numerous cases of Black Lives Matter related protests in the past. One car did run through the blockade but no one was injured. What these protestors seem to disregard is that while they are trying to express their grievances they are putting innocent people’s lives at stake.
Here is more from Blue Lives Matter:
St Paul, MN – A large group of thousands of protesters, some with children, have shut down I-94 Friday night. The protests are in response to the Philando Castile shooting verdict in which a multi-racial jury acquitted Officer Jeronimo Yanez. At least one car has driven through the blockade. Unconfirmed reports state the driver was shouting racist slurs and “make America white again.” The crowd has been walking down the interstate chanting “Fuck 12.”
The group of protesters are about to come head-to-head with police in riot gear, at which time they will either be herded in a safe direction or have a confrontation with police. The march organizers have stopped the march in preparation for the confrontation. Many of the protesters are putting on gas masks and other face coverings. There has been some minor vandalism but no violence as of the time of this writing.
UPDATE: Police are telling the thousands of protesters that it’s an “an unlawful assembly, subject to further action.” The crowd seems ready for a fight.
UPDATE: A KSTP helicopter crew is reporting that the crowd has thinned from thousands to around 500 protesters who look ready to stay. UPDATE: Despite the gas masks and big talk, almost all of the crowd moved off of the interstate. A handful of protesters decided to stay and were arrested. Thankfully, the protest remained peaceful. The remaining protesters moved off of the interstate and gathered on a side road. Law enforcement issued another dispersal order and the crowd is moving on.
While I fully support the right to peacefully assemble these type of protesters seem to always be on the verge of going from peaceful to hateful in a matter of seconds and it makes for a very tense job on the parts of the officers trying to keep them all safe as well as the areas in which the protest is taking place. Thankfully this particular instance didn’t turn into what the others have, but it was very close to it.
At some point in the near future, I fear that the nation will see these riots for one cause or another happening daily in every major city and it will take its toll on us as a country. People have forgotten how to peacefully air their issues and we are sitting on a powder-keg.
H/T [ Blue Lives Matter ]