Detroit: Marching and Blocking Traffic to Demand Justice for Mike Brown

November 28, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

November 25—In the late afternoon, various groups called for a "Detroit demonstration to honor Michael Brown: condemn the Failure of the Grand Jury to file charges against Ferguson cop." After a rally in the main downtown park along the river, people took the streets, marching and chanting through downtown to another rally at the courthouse where the cop who killed seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones in 2010 was declared innocent. Leaflets were distributed with Carl Dix’s statement “If the murdering pig walks, Amerikkka must be brought to a halt!

Photo: Valerie Jean

Then the march of more than 100 people took over one side of I-75 for about 20 minutes until forced off the freeway by the police and continued to march on major streets of the city. Local media covered the march and freeway takeover.

In the meantime, a rally and march in support of Michael Brown was held at the Wayne State University (WSU) Law Library, sponsored by the campus group Sister 2 Sister. In the early evening, a crowd of protestors descended on the Lodge Freeway near WSU and blocked it for a short period of time.

Later in the evening, more people, organized by Black Lives Matter and others, gathered at the major police station on the east side of Detroit on Gratiot Avenue. Possibly as many as 200 people took to the major east side thoroughfare in the face of orders and intimidations by the police to keep part of the street open for traffic. There was lots and lots of honking support from passing cars, with some drivers parking and jumping out to participate. When it came time for the 4.5 minute silence in honor of Michael Brown, the protestors took the entire street and forced the police to shut up and wait until the march continued. At a point, the police waded into the crowd, grabbing one of the main people speaking on the loudspeakers, claiming that he was “inciting a riot,” and attempted to drag him away. Protestors surrounded the police in a compact group, demanding that the police let him go. They did.

Photo: Valerie Jean

At this march, leaflets were widely distributed of the Carl Dix statement along with Revolution newspaper. Also, in advance, a small group made a banner and posters. (Something that people who cannot leave their crib can do.) The banner read, “The Killing of Black Youth Must Stop! Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution!” The people readily took up the posters and traded off carrying the banner.

After about two hours of occupying the street, most of the marchers rushed down a ramp and interrupted traffic on I-94 for about 15 minutes. I don’t know how many police cars that produced, but it looked like most of the police force from the east side of Detroit! The police went a little crazy, pushing and knocking people down and even ramming people with their cars, even as a cop in charge repeatedly yelled, “Disengage, disengage!” (Unfortunately, the banner was lost in that confrontation.)  Several people were arrested on the side of the freeway.

The march returned to the east side police station with several blocks of police cars trailing them. Again, several people were arrested at that point. Local media and cell phones captured the march and some of the freeway shut down. One blogger said, in part, “I don’t think I felt the cold all night. I was at home, with all of those people, affirming my anger, demanding justice. It’s not over. This whole system must go.”

Also, reviewing media and Facebook coverage, we can say that marches and rallies involving hundreds of people took place in other parts of Michigan: Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Jackson, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids.

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