Gov. Deval Patrick said some protesters in Boston over the weekend “weren’t interested in engagement because part of the point was to be disruptive.”
Twenty three protesters were arrested on Saturday after trying to block Rte 93, a busy highway that cuts through the city. Those arrested – 15 men and eight women – could be arraigned as soon as Monday. They all face disorderly conduct and one of the males faces assault and battery on a police officer.
Those arrested were part of a large demonstration protesting recent deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers. In recent weeks, the police who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and choked Eric Garner to death in New York City were not indicted. Those developments have sparked demonstrations throughout the country.
Gov. Patrick, who is the country’s only sitting black governor, said on CNN”s State of the Union on Sunday, “We went to great lengths to try to connect with the organizers to the extent they were organized to get a sense of what they needed so that we could accommodate the protests and respect that right.”
Patrick, who will leave office next month after two terms, added, “And they weren’t interested in engagement because part of the point was to be disruptive. And I think it does beg some questions, what is it we’re trying to accomplish beyond disruption? Certainly part of it is to make sure people understand just how broadly the concern les around being understood, and not being fearful, either as unarmed black men or as police, and that huge chasm of misunderstanding between the two has got to be bridged.”
The protesters were arrested in the area of Nashua Street, near the Rte 93 ramps.
Reuters reported inmates in Boston’s Suffolk County jail cheered and banged on cell windows as hundreds of protesters walked past outside near an entrance to Interstate 93.
Saturday protests also drew thousands in New York City, Washington D.C. and Oakland, California.
In Oakland, about 45 protesters were detained by police, according to Reuters.