A group of Black Lives Matter protesters caused a traffic jam Monday afternoon in Virginia when they shut down Interstate 95 to hold a protest.
Virginia State Police spokesperson Steve Vick said that state troopers arrived on the scene shortly after to tell protesters that they had to vacate the highway because occupying the highway is illegal, according to WRIC.
Thirteen of the protesters refused to leave the highway and were subsequently arrested for being pedestrians on the highway and obstructing traffic. Officials took them to the Richmond County Jail.
“13 of those individuals decided not to do that and elected to be arrested. It was their choice,” said Deputy Chief Steve Drew to WRIC.
https://t.co/9OLoRjXLwW Raising Awareness: Good
Blocking a main highway in rush hour: Absolutely stupid
— IndomitableFox (@TheIndomFox) July 19, 2016
Protesters held signs reading “White silence is violence” and shouted phrased like “Black Lives Matter” and “No justice, no peace, no respect, police.”
Protester Nqobile Mthethwa told the Richmond Times Dispatch that a group from Charlottesville organized the protest over social media. Protesters handed out a news release from the organization that discussed their reasons for the protest.
“We support the national Black Lives Matter movement’s demands to disarm the police, divest from prisons, and ensure safe and clean housing for black communities,” the release read.
The release also claimed that “non-black Virginians need to recognize that Richmond and Virginia were built by enslaved black laborers, and that systematic violence lives on today in our state’s prisons. With such a crisis at hand, we cannot let business go on as usual.”
The protest was diverse, featuring a variety of different races.
“As an ally and a white person, it’s important to take action. I’m a supporter in ending racism and police brutality,” protester Noah Goodwin told the Richmond Times Dispatch.
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