The call for a national day of protest was met with scant participants in St. Louis on Tuesday. Despite the low number, protesters remained committed to calling for social change in the face of police violence against minority populations.
“Legislation got to change. Laws got to change. Everything must change. We are sick of police officers having the carte-blanche right to take lives and not answer to it,” said Pastor Paul Hudson.
At 4 p.m. roughly 30 people met in the parking lot of Red’s BBQ at the intersection of W. Florissant Avenue and Canfield Drive. Protesters chanted the familiar “Black lives matter” morphing into “All lives matter” and back again. The protest was organized by The Stop Mass Incarceration Network as part of a day of protest throughout the country, with support from Cornel West, Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Alice Walker and more. Hudson spoke before protesters took to the street.
“If we break the law we go to jail. If they break the law they should go to jail. There should not be two rules of law in America,” he said to the crowd.
Protesters first marched north on West Florissant Avenue. They stopped two lanes of traffic before returning to the parking lot of Red’s BBQ. There they met with an additional 20 protesters before proceeding south on West Florissant, stopping to block traffic at the intersection with Lucas-Hunt Road.
Margaret Marrow, 67, followed the first leg of the journey to speak on behalf of her grandchildren.
“The reason I came out today is because I want to see things change. I want peace. I’m tired of the killing,” she said. “You know I got grand kids coming up and I look forward to one day when they can walk in peace without being run down and killed.”
Shamika Swan, 27, said she was protesting for one reason.
“I’m tired of these cops killing our people. We out here!” Swan said.
The protest disbanded around 6:30 p.m. and reconstituted outside the Ferguson police department. There protesters scrawled “black power” and other statements in chalk in the police parking lot before police moved them back onto the sidewalk. There a small group of protesters continued chanting and holding signs into the night.