Across the country, Black Lives Matter protests were met with resistance from police, in many cases wearing riot gear. Some protesters were again met with concussion grenades and teargas. There were a number of arrests, including BLM activist Deray McKesson, who was arrested in Baton Rouge on his birthday and held for 17 hours, during which the charging document was released containing information disputed by McKesson and other protesters.
There is a lot to discuss. Below, some tweeting and retweeting I did over the weekend.
Evergreen Brian Nguyen image from Berkeley Eric Garner protest. pic.twitter.com/HMng666tUV— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) July 10, 2016
[Image embedded in tweet shows a man of color holding up a mirror, pointed at police, on which is written: "Want to see who came to riot | Look for who dressed for a riot."]
I don't want police to be harmed. I also don't want concussion grenades and tear gas used on protesters.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) July 10, 2016
You know who else doesn't want cops in riot gear at protests? The cops I know who do sensitivity and de-escalation training.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) July 10, 2016
[Image embedded in tweet shows the scene on a street at night: A line of police in riot gear stand down the block from plumes of smoke, engulfing protesters.]
[Image embedded in tweet shows the scene on a street at night: A group of police in riot gear, holding batons.]
What a powerful photo pic.twitter.com/PzGfk45KPy— Nader (@BonsaiSky) July 10, 2016
[Image embedded in tweet shows a young, thin, Black woman in a sundress standing in the middle of a street, tall and fixed, while police in full militarized riot gear run toward her.]
[Image embedded in tweet shows Deray McKesson, a young, thin, Black man wearing a t-shirt reading "Stay Woke" on one knee, staring evenly into the camera as he is surrounded by police who are cuffing and arresting him.]
As I was in the cell over the past 17 hours, I thought of the quote that simply says if you want to test a man's character, give him power.— deray mckesson (@deray) July 10, 2016
Much of the action taken against protesters is justified on the basis that they are blocking roads. Which, of course, again raises the question of who owns the streets and who gets to decide their best purpose.
On Saturday afternoon, Iain and I went to a soccer match with about 18,000 other people. Afterwards, we sat in traffic around the stadium for about an hour, before we could even begin the short drive home. It was irritating, but everyone who attends sporting events (or concerts, or various other stadium events) expects as much.
Police guided the traffic. Certain residential streets were cordoned off, which I imagine doesn't thrill the people who live on them.
We came home, and we watched images of protesters being "dispersed" by police in riot gear, because those protesters were (allegedly) blocking streets. I said to Iain: We just sat in traffic for an hour for a soccer match. Streets were blocked to direct the traffic and accommodate the influx of attendees.
What are our fucking priorities when it's okay to inconvenience other drivers in an area and shut down streets for sports fans, but not okay to do it for people who are protesting issues of life and death?
How many of the white people who were among those willing to sit in that traffic for an hour after a sporting event would not be willing to be inconvenienced by Black protesters asking them, pleading with them, to value their lives?