Black Lives Matter protesters kept thousands of fans from getting to see the Sacramento Kings play the Atlanta Hawks Thursday night at the Golden 1 Center, blocking entrances and delaying the game by 20 minutes, according to USA Today.
The protests were the culmination of day-long demonstrations in the city over a police-involved shooting Sunday night of 22-year-old Stephon Clark, who was killed in his grandmother’s backyard following a foot pursuit.
The protesters formed a human chain around the building to keep fans from getting in.
Protesters now locking arms forming human chain to keep fans from entering game at Golden One Center. pic.twitter.com/2Zp6cqFKp7
— stevelarge (@largesteven) March 23, 2018
Protestors carried signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for Stephon Zoe Clark” while they chanted Clarks name.
— Kris Hooks (@Captain_Hooks) March 23, 2018
— Frances Wang (@FrancesWangTV) March 23, 2018
Sacramento police a short time later announced that no more fans would be admitted to the game and later confirmed to USA Today that the Kings’ ownership decided to lock the doors and keep them locked during the entire game for “safety.”
“Due to unforeseen circumstances around Golden 1 Center, no one else will be admitted to the #SacKings game. #SacPD,” Sacramento Police tweeted at 7:39 p.m. PST.
— Sacramento Police (@SacPolice) March 23, 2018
“Tonight’s game began with a delay,” a statement from the Kings reads. “Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remains closed and we ask fans outside to travel home. We will issue further information soon regarding a refund.”
Only a few hundred fans actually managed to get in to see the game, according to CBS News.
— Madison Wade (@madisoncwade) March 23, 2018
Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé addressed the fans after the game and said he respects the people’s right “to protest peacefully.”
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 23, 2018