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‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters block Atlanta highway

The Ferguson effect is growing.


Beth Elderkin


Posted on Oct 23, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 8:39 am CDT

A group of protesters temporarily shut down a highway in Atlanta on Wednesday to protest police brutality in America. 

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the protest started at Woodruff Park in Atlanta. Protesters then marched around the city before reaching the Downtown Corridor and shutting down the highway. 


A video posted by Eazy Spliffarachi (@yoga_made_eazy) on

The Instagram video shows protesters parking their cars along the Downtown Corridor near Freedom Parkway during the evening, while also forming a human chain along the road. The protest blocked traffic during the end of rush hour for about 15 minutes. No injuries or accidents were reported.  

The protest was part of a national week of action for Black Lives Matter, an online campaign against police brutality and racial profiling against African-Americans. Much of their focus has been around the Ferguson, Mo. shooting of Michael Brown. The campaign, using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, has been holding marches, “die-ins” and other protests across the country. 

From #Ferguson2Atlanta we say #BlackLivesMatter. SONG stands with #o22 and the call to end police brutality

— SONG (@ignitekindred) October 22, 2014

The protest happened on the same day that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch leaked the official autopsy report for Michael Brown, who was shot on Aug. 9 by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson. Several grassroots groups who participated in the protest told the Journal-Constitution that they planned their march in advance, so it was not in response to the autopsy report. 

Forensic experts tell the Post-Dispatch that the autopsy suggests Brown may have tried to take Officer Wilson’s gun because he was shot in the hand at close range. This assessment goes against the accounts of witnesses, who say he was running away or had his hands up during the shooting. According to CNN, protesters in Ferguson clashed with police Wednesday after the autopsy was leaked. 


A video posted by Eazy Spliffarachi (@yoga_made_eazy) on

This isn’t the first time protests have blocked traffic, even in recent years. In June 2013, protesters blocked highways in Houston and other cities after George Zimmerman’s verdict of not guilty was announced. Currently, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have been forming makeshift street blockades for “Occupy Mang Kok” using particle board, crates and other materials. 

According to the ACLU, protests can only block streets if they have the right permits. No word on whether Wednesday’s protest in Atlanta had the proper permits, but police made no arrests. Black Lives Matter’s week of action continues through Friday.

Photo via Debra Sweet/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) 

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*First Published: Oct 23, 2014, 2:32 pm CDT