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The Daily Wildcat

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Tucson community protests Ferguson verdict downtown

Tucson+community+protests+Ferguson+verdict+downtown
Rebecca Marie Sasnett

Hundreds of protesters marched throughout Tucson on Tuesday evening in order to show solidarity with the protests in Ferguson, Mo., and with Michael Brown.

The protesters lent their voices to the chorus of discontent echoing throughout the nation as similar protests occurred in cities across the U.S.

The protests broke out throughout the country following a grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on any of five charges related to his shooting of Brown.

The protesters began the night at the Ronstadt Transit Center in downtown Tucson where they held signs in support of Brown and chanted at cars driving down Congress Street.

Some of the signs and banners included messages such as “Make Police Obsolete,” “A system cannot kill those it was never meant to protect” and “Would you still support Darren Wilson if he killed your son?”

The protesters chanted messages including “Black lives matter,” “All lives matter,” “No justice, no peace, no racist police” and “Killer cops have got to go.”

The protesters left the center shortly thereafter as they marched downtown as well as on Fourth Avenue, University Boulevard and throughout the UA campus, before heading down Speedway Boulevard and returning to the Ronstadt Transit Center.

As the protesters marched throughout Tucson, police officers both on motorcycles and in cars blocked the through streets that the protesters passed to prevent cars and protesters from running into one another.

When they returned to the Ronstadt Transit Center, the protesters stood in the middle of the intersection of Congress Street and Sixth Street where they linked arms and held a circle of caution tape around the intersection. Several protesters laid down in the center of the circle to emulate the appearance of bodies.

There was a notable police presence throughout the protest, though there were no direct confrontations between the police and the protesters during the march. While the protesters were standing in the intersection near the center, there was at least one police officer filming the protest.

The protesters at the march came from a disparate array of groups, but they were united in standing with Brown.

Layla Lindsey, a protester, said that the event was organized to support all victims of police brutality.

“The event was for people to show their faces and to show support for not only the family, but for other families that have gone through tragedies like this,” Lindsey said, “and by doing this, hopefully, it will raise awareness for what’s going on.” Rebecca Dominguez, who was there to represent the UA chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan, said that this is something that affects all people.

“We’re all coming together for one cause,” Dominguez said, “and it’s for many races and not just the black community.”

John Cooper, who was at the protest with Occupy Public Land, a nonprofit organization meant to educate about corporate power, said that he was there “to make sure the police don’t violate anyone’s rights.”

Cooper also said he did not think that just this one protest would accomplish much but that “we need more of this so that it’s on people’s minds when they go to the ballot box.”

Ana Ghoreishian, a history graduate student at the UA, brought her 6-year-old daughter, Ghazaul, to the protest, as the march transcended age boundaries. Ghazaul was one of several children present.

“We’re here to stand in solidarity with what’s happening in Ferguson with Mike Brown,” Ana Ghoreishian said. “I feel like this is an opportunity that we can raise consciousness as well.”

Many of the bystanders in Tucson who witnessed the march supported what the protesters were trying to do.
Alex Erickson, who climbed atop a fence at The Hut on Fourth Avenue to get a better view of the march, said he admired what the protesters were doing.

“This is a great movement to show the police — somebody needs the police to police,” Erickson said. “The people are the power. We’re the ones who make changes.”

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Follow Max Rodriguez on Twitter.

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