New Year’s Eve protests began early in St. Louis as protesters rushed the doors of the 1915 Olive St Police Headquarters in Missouri with chants of, “We say fight back,” “We’re going to occupy,” and calling police officers racists.
A Ferguson livestream playing at approximately 11am CST showed protesters marching to St. Louis Police Department headquarters with the family, making the discredited “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture.
A mass text distributed to Ferguson Action subscribers on Tuesday read: “TOMORROW (Dec 31): Join us for a #MarchAtTheArch at 10AM at the Old Courthouse (11 N. 4th St., 63102.” The march was also publicized on the Ferguson National Response Network webpage. Another call went out out approximately 11:30 AM, announcing: “RIGHT NOW: People are occupying and shutting down the St. Louis City Police HQ. Join the crowd outside! 1915 Olive St., 63103. https://vine.co/v/Owj3hiAziIF.” The Vine video appears to show protesters occupying the lobby of the police headquarters.
A large banner held by two protesters showed a raised fist and read “eviction notice.” Another pre-printed sign brandished the ACLU logo with the message #BlackLivesMatter.
“We have, I believe, 15 to 20 people who while we were marching around were on the inside of this police headquarters, they’re occupying the lobby. This is our police headquarters for the next four and a half hours,” announced a protest leader through a bullhorn.
Another protest leader read a list of 11 demands.
Group chants included:
“If we don’t get it: Shut it down (repeated)”
“Who shut it down? We shut it down. (repeated)”
“The people, united, will never be defeated. (repeated)”
“United we stand, divided we fall. (repeated)”
“Show me what democracy looks like:
This is what democracy looks like. (repeated)”
“Show me what community looks like:
This is what community looks like. (repeated)”
“Show me what family looks like:
This is what family looks like. (repeated)”
“We’re going to occupy in four and a half hours,” one protest leader announced to the crowd.
“They say move back, we say fight back.
Move back: fight back,” were the shouts and replies of the bullhorn-wielding leader and the crowd. “Indict, commit, send those killer cops to jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell,” they chanted.
The doors of the St. Louis Police Headquarters subsequently opened and protesters began streaming in. Police responded from down the block and began removing protesters from the doorways. Protesters began screaming and making a commotion. One man being removed appeared to try to make his body limp, heavy and difficult to move.
A barricade was then set up to allow protesters to demonstrate, but at a short distance from the front doors of the station. One man from the crowd announced the name and phone number of Thomas Harvey of Arch City Defenders as someone to contact. The protesters continued to “occupy” the area outside the station, chanting, “You can’t stop the revolution.” They also sung their anthem, “I can hear my brother saying ‘I can’t breathe,’ now I’m in the struggle saying ‘I can’t leave,’ Calling out the violence of these racist police, we ain’t gonna to stop ‘till the people are free, we ain’t gonna to stop ‘till the people are free.”
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