Protest of Ferguson and Eric Garner jury decisions brings Hyde Park traffic to a standstill

55th and Woodlawn 1

Protesters at the intersection of 55th Street and Woodlawn Avenue, Thursday afternoon.

– Owen M. Lawson III

Staff Writer

A massive crowd protesting police brutality and racial injustice brought traffic to a standstill at the intersection of 55th Street and Woodlawn Avenue this afternoon.

Protesters reacting to recent news that the white police officers who killed Ferguson, Mo. teenager Michael Brown and New York City resident Eric Garner – both African American – would not be indicted formed a ring blocking buses and cars and spoke through a megaphone, carrying signs that said “Black Lives Matter,” “No Justice” and “Ferguson is Everywhere.”

The blockade came on the heels of a noon die-in in front of Regenstein Library, 1100 E. 57th St., which organizer Ariel Stevenson estimated attracted 300 people.

“I organized this last night because I wanted to do this,” said Stevenson, who promoted the event through Facebook.

“The event was just for the die in,” Stevenson said. “And then we decided to move this way to block traffic. And we did it. I’m surprised the police would let us stay here this long. They’re probably trying to prove a point that they’re not as bad as we say they are.”

By around 1:15 p.m. 150 people were left at the demonstration, Stevenson estimated.

Stevenson said she wanted to organize something after the recent events in Ferguson, Mo., but that Thanksgiving break got in the way.

“After Eric Garner, it’s like – we have to do something,” Stevenson said.