Protesters angry over the shooting death of Michael Brown blocked streets in D.C. Monday morning. Drivers stuck in traffic were not happy, but the protesters say it’s necessary in order to be heard.
The protesters started at 14th Street and shut it down. “Shut it down for Mike Brown,” they chanted. They blocked traffic at each intersections as police officers followed along closely, but silently to ensure their safety.
“When you start messing with preventing them from doing what they want to do, that’s when they are going to open up their eyes,” said one protester, Mahder Etuma, a college student from Baltimore. “If we stood out at a park and complained, nobody would listen to us. We tried that and it didn’t work. So if we don’t get justice, we gonna shut it down,” she said.
As drivers sat in their cars simply watching, unable to move. Some more angry than others, one woman got out of her vehicle and yelled obscenities at the group. They were not deterred, and kept walking.
Protesters say since they can’t be in Ferguson, this is their way of helping. When asked if they feel bad about making people late to work, they say no. “Mike Brown’s life stopped and everybody else needs to take time to realize that,” said one protestor.
“Just because of the color of my skin I have a chance of getting shot, just because of my color of my skin. And I think that is injustice,” said Etuma.
One person was allowed through the march, however. “We let one car actually go because she said she was taking her husband to dialysis,” said Noor Mir, a protester.
The protesters chanted at times, “Hands up don’t shoot,” and “Black lives matter,” to “Cops, pigs, murderers.” Periodically, they lay on the ground in a ‘die-in,’ as solidarity with Mike Brown. “When a body was laying for 4-and-a-half hours and nothing was done? That’s cruelty. This is about civil rights, as black people we are targeted,” says Etuma.
The protests started on Sunday and picked back up again around 9 a.m. “Today is also the 59th anniversary of the Rosa Parks
sit-in and I think that that kind of speaks to some of the people that appear to be angry with us. The point is to disrupt business as usual,” says Mir.
They eventually ended their march in Chinatown. While each protester said they were here for justice for Mike Brown, some, also had more personal reasons to get involved. “I’ like to bring it to the attention of people who might not be quite familiar with it and I hope there would be some type of change,” said Bernard Jenkins who says he has experienced police brutality.
Another demonstration is set for the Justice Department Monday at 4:00 p.m..