An Update On The Ferguson Protests That Took Place Over The Thanksgiving Weekend

The long Thanksgiving weekend was an eventful one for Ferguson protesters. It started on Thursday itself, with the Twitter hashtag #StolenLives, and participants posted photos of the seats they left open at their Thanksgiving tables to remember Mike Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Tamir Rice, and other unarmed people of color who were killed by police officers. Ferguson Action started the hashtag with a picture of Mike Brown’s family table:

Friday, however, was the most active day for Ferguson protesters, who peacefully shut down portions of their cities all over the country as part of the #BlackoutBlackFriday protest. In St. Louis, protesters shut down the Galleria Mall and North County Mall with sit-ins and die-ins:

In Chicago, one protest disrupted shopping on the Magnificent Mile and downtown:

While another shut down the Six Corners intersection in Wicker Park, one of Chicago’s most gentrified neighborhoods, as well as the nearby exit ramp on the Kennedy Expressway:

In New York, protesters occupied Macy’s and Times Square:

And in Oakland, protesters shut down the BART transportation system by chaining themselves to the platforms and cars, resulting in 14 arrests:

According to protesters, several BART commuters complained that while they supported the protests, they didn’t appreciate the fact that the protesters were disrupting their day, demonstrating themselves to be completely oblivious to the point.

And all of that is just a sampling. The protests continued over the weekend, most notably on Sunday, when DC protesters linked hands and wove themselves through traffic on I-395, and Los Angeles protests resulted in at least 26 arrests. All of these protests were peaceful, by the way.

Also on Sunday, five of the St. Louis Rams walked out of the tunnel with their hands up to show solidarity for #HandsUpDontShoot, and the team and staff linked arms in a show of solidarity with their community. The St. Louis Police Officers Association is calling for those players to be disciplined, claiming that there are “mountains of evidence” that show that Darren Wilson was innocent of any wrongdoing while, of course, ignoring the gaping holes in the evidence presented to the grand jury and the assertion by the National Bar Association and others that the hearing was a travesty. In effect, the SLPOA’s rhetoric demonstrates their total contempt rather than compassion for the black community in St. Louis and its concerns.

Today’s planned action is #HandsUpWalkOut, urging people to walk out of their jobs and schools at 1 p.m. Eastern. Per the Chicago action’s event page, if would-be protesters can’t walk out, they can call their local U.S. Attorney’s Office and make the following demands:

  1. We call on US Attorney General Eric Holder to federally prosecute Darren Wilson for first degree murder of Mike Brown.
  1. We also demand that the federal government discontinue its supply of military weaponry and equipment to local law enforcement. And though Congress seems to finally be considering measures in this regard, it remains essential to monitor the demilitarization processes and the corporate sectors that financially benefit from the sale of military tools to police.

  1. We call on the office of US Attorney General Eric Holder to release the names of all officers involved in killing Black people within the last five years, both while on patrol and in custody, so they can be brought to justice.

  1. And we demand for a decrease in law-enforcement spending at the local, state and federal levels and a reinvestment of that budgeted money into the Black communities most devastated by poverty in order to create jobs, housing and schools. This money should be redirected to those federal departments charged with providing employment, housing and educational services.

More updates to come as the protests continue.

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