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Government, Politics & Issues

St. Louis March Among Nationwide Protests, Blocks I-70 Traffic For Hours

Hundreds of activists gathered in downtown St. Louis to protest the death of George Floyd. May 29, 2020
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio
Hundreds of activists gathered in downtown St. Louis to protest the death of George Floyd.

Hundreds of demonstrators marched in downtown St. Louis on Friday evening as people took to the streets in many major U.S. cities in solidarity with days of protests that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

Protesters blocked both eastbound and westbound traffic on Interstate 70 for nearly three hours beginning around 11:20 p.m. They also started a fire on the highway pavement. Police did not clear protesters off the highway, and those blocking traffic eventually dispersed after 2 a.m. 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that a man died after he climbed onto a FedEx truck early on Saturday morning and it drove away.

The protest began nearly eight hours earlier. Around sunset, demonstrators were marching east down Market Street from Jefferson Avenue. Later they walked along a popular strip of restaurants and bars on Washington Avenue. They carried Black Lives Matter signs, and chanted “no justice, no peace” and other refrains often heard during 2014 protests after a Ferguson police officer killed Michael Brown.

The group eventually returned to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Headquarters on Olive Street, before heading to the interstate. Police kept a wide distance from the large group of demonstrators throughout the march.

Earlier that day, a former Minneapolis police officer was arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter. A video showing the white officer kneeling on Floyd, a black man, as he gasped for air and said that he couldn’t breathe, seared across social media days earlier and incited angry protests in Minneapolis and elsewhere. 

activists gather in front of the Old Courthouse to protest George Floyd's death in Minnesota. May 29, 2020
Credit Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio
Activists gather in front of the Old Courthouse to protest George Floyd's death in Minnesota.

In St. Louis on Friday, activists said the Friday protests felt similar to the protests several years ago in Ferguson and St. Louis 

“We are out here trying to get justice, convictions, indictments for essentially murders,” said Kayla Young, who was among the demonstrators Friday night. “It’s wrong, I’m sick of it, these are my cousins, brothers, sons; these are my people, my family, so I’m out here, I’m going to fight, and I'm going to do what’s right.”

A protest in downtown Clayton is planned to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday, and another protest outside the Ferguson Police Department will start later in the day, at 6 p.m. 

Protesters congregate and wave flags near Washington Avenue to protest the death of George Floyd. May 29, 2020
Credit Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio
Protesters congregate and wave flags near Washington Avenue to protest the death of George Floyd.

Follow Chad on Twitter @iamcdavis 

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