(from News and Observer)
DURHAM — A group of protesters marching toward the Durham Freeway on Saturday night was stopped by police who blocked their path and made 11 arrests.
The march began at Walltown Recreation Center on West Club Boulevard. A woman who would not give her name said the group was adding its voices to a national movement. She mentioned Jesus Huerta, the Durham teen who police say fatally shot himself last year while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car.
This was the fourth protest in Durham since a grand jury decided last month not to indict a white police officer in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo.
The protesters marched behind a big black banner that said “All Police Are Darren Wilson,” the officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown.
They chanted “ Black lives matter!” and “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” as they made their way down Buchanan Boulevard, past Duke’s East Campus, and down Ninth and Main streets.
A woman in a housecoat and slippers came out to cheer and high-fived a marcher as the group passed her home on Buchanan Boulevard.
The group started off in one lane of traffic but later spread out into both lanes, blocking cars.
As they turned onto Swift Avenue, police in riot gear and holding sticks stood in front of parked patrol cars blocking the freeway entrance.
They turned on a high-pitched alarm and ordered the crowd back. Almost immediately, they had several protesters on the ground.
“Literally within two seconds,” said Ley Killeya-Jones of Chapel Hill. “They just charged people in front. Literally we felt this whoosh!”
Killeya-Jones said she turned to put earplugs in her 12-year-old son’s Stefan’s ears when police began forcing people to the ground.
“It’s one thing to say you’re going to be arrested if you don’t turn around, (but) why do you have to bum rush people?” she asked. “I just felt like the amount of force they brought was completely incommensurate with what people were doing.”
Police kept the remaining protesters moving back to Main Street, walking quickly behind them and telling them to stay out of the street.
Ten people were also arrested Wednesday night during a protest at The Streets at Southpoint.
Participants held a brief protest inside the mall and then blocked Fayetteville Road between Herndon Road and Renaissance Parkway for about 40 minutes, according to a police news release. Several people were kneeling and lying in the roadway, the release said.
A tractor-trailer driver was arrested after he did not stop on Fayetteville Road for the protesters, but a magistrate did not find probable cause for charges “due to lack of intent to injure or strike the pedestrians,” the release said.
In two previous protests, Durham demonstrators blocked the Durham Freeway.