UA students march, block traffic in protest of police brutality
UA students and members of the surrounding community took to the streets on Friday to protest police brutality in response to the recent grand jury decision not to indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner.UA students and members of the surrounding community took to the streets on Friday to protest police brutality in response to the recent grand jury decision not to indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner.
A group of over 50 individuals organized by the Arizona Students Empowerment Network gathered at Old Main for a moment of silence before taking their protest on the road. The group was not affiliated with the Black Student Union or African American Student Affairs, according to an email statement by Kevyn Butler, president of the BSU.
Jose Guadalupe Conchas, the individual leading the group, said the moment of silence was in recognition of those who had been killed due to incidents of police brutality and those who will be killed in the future.
The group marched up University Boulevard and down Euclid Avenue before gathering in front of the Student Union Memorial Center.
As they marched, protesters chanted phrases, including “Hands up, don’t shoot,” in reference to the Ferguson, Mo., protests, and “I can’t breathe,” in reference to the Garner decision.
Prior to marching, Guadalupe Conchas asked the protesters to remain on the sidewalk to avoid any police intervention.
The group then made its way around campus before deciding to stop and gather at the roundabout of the student union. Upon arrival, the protesters gathered around the statue in the center of the circle and chanted as a crowd of onlookers gathered.
After chanting phrases including “What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like,” they made their way through the student union and silently walked through the building.
They proceeded to make their way to University Boulevard where they gathered at the intersection of University Boulevard and Park Avenue, requiring police on the scene to block off the streets to prevent anyone from driving through the intersection.
Some of the protesters then lied down, performing a “die in,” a form of protest that was seen in Ferguson in reference to the fact that Michael Brown was left in the street for four-and-a-half hours.
Others chanted and carried signs, and one protester came forward and said the police were on the scene to silence them, while later, the police would return to protect people while the football game against the University of Oregon took place.
Marijke Stoll, an anthropology graduate student, said she was taking part in the protest because she was angry.
“I’m angry about what has been going on in this country,” Stoll said. “I don’t think people should be executed by the law enforcement and the government simply for existing, for being who they are. I just want to see justice served in these cases, and I want to see the end of these shootings of unarmed black men.”
Another protester, Amalia Ashley, a sociology graduate student, said she was at the protest as an ally.
“Basically, I want to listen,” Ashley said. “There should have been an indictment. It’s a larger issue of social injustice toward minority people. … It’s not really my place to say. I’m here to listen and to be an ally. I support those who are out here. The system is corrupt, and it is meant to work for certain people and not others, and I have the privilege to be out here and listen and show support in numbers.”
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