Louisville Metro Police announced Sunday that it will no longer allow protest caravans, permit protesters to occupy streets or block traffic. LMPD said its decision comes after an increase in “aggressive behavior” on the part of protesters in recent days.
LMPD’s crackdown comes after more 70 days of demonstrations seeking justice for Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by LMPD in March, and just hours before protesters were due to march through downtown Sunday night in remembrance of Taylor and Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri six years ago.
The march continued as planned and LMPD says officers made two arrests and issued six citations to protesters who violated the order.
Organizer Imani Smith said marchers had the right to protest.
“…We are marching today… because there has been a statement put out by LMPD and it is saying that we cannot protest the way that we need to protest, the way that we know that we need to fight for these lives, the way that we need to stand up for each other,” Smith said.
Smith also said that, six years after his death, protesters are still fighting for justice for Brown.
“So, when we march today we march with understanding who we are fighting for, we march because we understand the history and context of why we are marching and where we are,” Smith said.
Protesters marched from the Muhammad Ali Center to Jefferson Square Park and through downtown. Police blocked some intersections and ordered protesters to stay on the sidewalks or face arrest. Some protesters returned to Jefferson Square for a memorial for Brown.
Earlier that day, some activists held a press conference at the Carl Braden Center, to provide an update on the four individuals participating in a hunger strike as part of their demands for racial justice..
Two of the hunger strikers, Amira Bryant and Vincent Gonzalez, announced they were breaking their fast. Bryant said she was ending her hunger strike after 21 days so that she could be clear minded and focused on the fight for justice.
“We need all of the tactics and strategized protesting to apply pressure to the unfortunate powers that be, and I’m proud to have taken a stand as a hunger striker for Breonna,” she said.
Aliyah Gant, a member of the hunger strike support team, read a statement on behalf of the other two other strikers, Ari Maybe, Tabin Ibershoff.
“Tomorrow marks what will be 21 days since we made our demands known and began our hunger strike, and yet the city continues their campaign of indifference towards human life, the effects of which are beginning to wear on us,” Gant said, reading from the statement.
Maybe and Ibershoff said they had received medical treatment.