The day began with the raising of a banner that read “Racism still lives here” in front of the St. Louis Arch, followed by a march of more than 100 people from the Old Federal Courthouse in St. Louis to the Justice Center, where police barricades had been set up. Activists then stepped inside the barricades and sat down, staging a sit-in.
Reed was among those who had planned to be arrested, and she sat down and linked arms with at least more than a dozen others. Mckesson and Elzie were among a second group people who also stepped inside of the barricade and began livestreaming and posting to social media about the sit-in and the arrests. Mckesson, who with more than 200,000 Twitter followers is one of the most prominent Ferguson-related activists, posted photos and videos of Elzie and Reed being taken into detention. Moments later he was also arrested.
Hundreds have been arrested during similar protests across the country in the last year. Several prominent activists in St. Louis said that the decision by law enforcement to arrest peaceful protesters, as well as the use of smoke and gas to disperse crowds gathered Sunday night near Canfield Drive — near where there were two shootings, including one by an officer — shows that policing in city has not changed.
“Between the continuous death of unarmed teenagers at the hands of police, tear gassing on Canfield Drive, and Ferguson’s failure to meet the DOJ’s consent decree, we see that not enough has changed in Ferguson.” said Brittany Packnett, an activist who works closely with Mckesson, Elzie and Reed. “It is August 2014 all over again.”
Additional acts of protest and civil disobedience were planned throughout the rest of the day.
Read more on the Ferguson anniversary: