Thursday, April 9, 2015

Protesters threaten to shut down Ravenel Bridge toward Mt. Pleasant at 4 p.m.

Spokesperson says traffic shutdown is in response to Walter Scott shooting

Posted by Paul Bowers on Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 1:17 PM

Update: The City Paper received the following email from Savannah Brennan: "THIS INFORMATION IS NO LONGER RELEVANT. THERE HAS BEEN A LEAK. PLEASE DISREGARD AND DO NOT PUBLISH THIS INFORMATION." Asked for further information via text message, Brennan wrote, "I am sorry, I can't give you any other information than what I have already said."

JONATHAN BONCEK FILE PHOTO
  • Jonathan Boncek file photo

A group of about 15 activists will stand on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and block traffic heading from Charleston to Mt. Pleasant at 4 p.m. today, according to a spokesperson. The protest action is in response to Saturday's shooting of Walter Scott in North Charleston.

The following statement was sent to media outlets at 12:55 p.m.:

Traffic will be stopped in all four lanes at the downtown point on the Cooper River Bridge, Mt. Pleasant-bound, at 4 p.m. today as activists stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matters Movement demanding an end to rampant systemic racism that is targeting and killing black people. The bridge shut down is a direct response to not only the murder of [Walter] Scott but to the long-standing racial profiling of North Charleston police of Black communities. We know that this is not just a local problem and is part of a widespread epidemic across South Carolina and the nation.

Savannah Brennan, a spokesperson for the protest event, describes the protesters as "an offshoot" of Black Lives Matter - Charleston, the group that organized a protest event at North Charleston City Hall Wednesday morning, but Muhiyidin D’Baha, an organizer with Black Lives Matter - Charleston, says that his group is not associated with the protest "at all."

"There's going to be four cars in each lane going Mt. Pleasant-bound, so those cars will slow down, put on their hazards, and eventually stop," Brennan says. "At that point, people who are in the cars will jump out of the cars, they'll have banners, there will be chanting, and then they will be there until police make them leave, essentially."

Brennan says she will not be participating in the actual protest, but she will be "behind the scenes doing communication." When asked why protesters chose this particular tactic, Brennan said, "I think it was what's going to be a loud statement, what's going to get the most visibility, and what's going to risky enough."

When asked whether the protesters were willing to be arrested, Brennan said, "The consensus is that they're going to try to avoid arrest, so if it comes to a time where police say 'Leave immediately or we'll arrest you,' then they will be disbanded. Everybody has agreed to not push it to the point where anybody's going to risk arrest."

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