A few dozen anti-police protesters temporarily shut down a major highway south of Boston during rush hour Thursday morning.
Traffic was shut down at two different locations on the I-93 highway shortly after 7:30 am. Protesters on the south side of the highway were removed by police after about a half hour. Protesters on the north side of the highway blocked traffic for more than two hours.
Video of the incident posted online shows a handful of protesters lying on the highway with their arms locked inside metal oil drums full of cement. Police and fire fighters used saws to cut open the drums so they could begin chipping away the concrete to get the protesters safely off the road. In all, 29 people were arrested in the two protests.
The protests were connected to the Black Lives Matter campaign which began after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. At one point protesters unfurled a sign which read “United Against Racism.” A spokeswoman told the Boston Globe the group was holding “disruptions” because “these entire systems of policing of judicial systems are, like, untenable.” She added that the group’s goal was to “wake people up from their privilege.”
WCBV5 in Boston was on the scene interviewing commuters who were less than impressed with the protests. “My commute usually takes about an hour and a half,” one driver told WCBV5, adding, “This morning it has taken about three and a half hours.” WCBV5 reports that many commuters stuck in the traffic jam created by the protest say they are now less sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh appeared on WCBV5 and, after seeing video of the incident for the first time, said, “I don’t think this helps their cause.” Walsh, who seemed sympathetic to the issue, asked protesters to use “common sense,” suggesting this particular form of protest was dangerous to everyone involved and could create a problem for emergency vehicles. In fact, such a delay actually happened this morning. The Boston Globe reports “a car crash victim from Easton with life-threatening injuries who was being transferred to a Boston trauma center had to be diverted because of the traffic tieup caused by the protests.”