New Orleans protesters take over I-10, stopping traffic for two hours



UPDATE: As of 8:30 pm, the protesters have walked on to I-10, stopping highway traffic near the Vieux Carre exit. See the latest information below.

New Orleans, La. (WGNO) – Their words were as full of outrage as the words of any other protesters around the nation. But hundreds of protesters continued to gather and march in New Orleans, peacefully, for a fourth straight night.

The protests are organized by “Taken Em Down NOLA,” a group of civil rights activists who united during Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s 2015 initiative to remove Confederate monuments from city property.

Since Saturday, May 30, the group has gathered each evening at 6 pm at Duncan Plaza, across from City Hall. There, they’ve been joined by fellow activists– and onlookers– to demand justice for all black Americans after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

On Tuesday (June 2), a group of hundreds marched from Duncan Plaza to the Tulane Avenue on- ramp to I-10, and proceeded to walk on the interstate as far as the Esplanade Avenue exit to the east.

At about 8:30 pm, the NOPD tweeted that drivers should avoid the area, but allowed the protesters to march. Some stayed on one side of the interstate, while others crossed over the concrete median, blocking traffic in both directions.

At about 9 pm, the protesters were met by a line of law enforcement, including state troopers in regular uniforms, and NOPD officers, some carrying shields and some in tactical gear.

The protesters shouted slogans at the officers for about an hour, before walking down the interstate off-ramps. There were no reports of any violence or destruction of property, and NOPD Superintendent Sheaun Ferguson wants to keep it that way.

In a Tuesday news conference, Ferguson used the phrase that’s become common among law enforcement regarding the Floyd protests: “outside agitators.”

Ferguson claims outsiders have caused the violence in other cities, and he won’t allow it in New Orleans. He urged all protesters to discourage any attempt by agitators to co-opt the local demonstrations.

“Don’t take the bait,” said Ferguson.

“Our city has truly been a great example of how to voice your concerns without violence.”

by: Susan Roesgen

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