Chris Pleasance, Daily Mail, July 11, 2016
Dozens more demonstrators have been arrested overnight in cities across America as protests against the killings of two black men raged on for a sixth night as authorities warned they would not tolerate violence.
At least 48 people were taken into custody in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Alton Sterling was shot dead on Tuesday last week, amid clashes with officers following an earlier peaceful march.
Meanwhile in Minnesota, where Philandro Castile’s shooting death by cops was broadcast on Facebook live on Wednesday, around 200 people shut down Interstate 94 in St Paul for hours as officers reported being hit by rocks, bottles, concrete, construction materials and fireworks.
In Tennessee around 1,000 people shut down a key bridge over the Mississippi River meaning traffic was stopped for hours, while in Los Angeles hundreds of activists also closed the 405 freeway chanting: ‘Hey ho, hey ho, these racist cops have got to go.’
In Baton Rouge, police arrested 102 people on Saturday night and Sunday morning, mostly for misdemeanors for not leaving a major thoroughfare known as Airline Highway. Those arrested included DeRay Mckesson, an activist and former Baltimore mayoral candidate, officials said.
The mayor of St. Paul and a protest leader both decried the violence that erupted there which injured 21 officers and led to 102 arrests.
St. Paul police said one officer suffered a broken vertebrae when a concrete block was dropped on his head during the protest on the interstate.
‘We will not tolerate the kind of shameless violence we saw throughout the course of the night,’ St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman told a news conference. ‘This doesn’t honor anyone’s memory.’
After his arrest, Mckesson was booked on a misdemeanor charge of obstructing the highway and released from the East Baton Rouge Parish jail, according to the sheriff’s website.
Baton Rouge police confiscated three rifles, three shotguns and two pistols at Saturday night’s protest and were wearing helmets, shields and body armor.
Police said those arrested had ignored repeated orders to stay out of the street, while demonstrators said officers charged into the crowds seemingly without any obvious provocation.
‘The only people who were violent last night were the Baton Rouge Police department,’ Mckesson told reporters after his release. ‘The protesters remained peaceful, both here and across the country.’