Activists Shut Down Highway During ‘Black Lives Matter’ Protest

Multiple people were arrested.

Activists locked to large, 1200-pound barrels filled with concrete blocked traffic on Interstate 93 early Thursday morning as part of a “Black Lives Matter” protest.

According to a press release from the group “Black Lives Matter Boston,” activists staged the protest by unloading the large barrels from a truck before spreading them across all four lanes on I-93 northbound, in Milton. They also staged a separate protest on I-93 southbound, in Medford, but no barrels were used.

“Today, our non-violent direct action is meant to expose the reality that Boston is a city where white commuters and students use the city and leave, while black and brown communities are targeted by police, exploited, and displaced,” said one of the group’s activists, Katie Seitz, in a statement.

The group stated that they wanted to “disrupt business as usual.”

The protests, which snarled traffic for early morning commuters, were meant to call attention to the two recent incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, where white police officers killed unarmed black men but did not face charges.

Dustin Finch, a social media specialist for the Massachusetts State Police, was live-tweeting the scenario to keep drivers up-to-date about the situation. “Call work, [you’re] gonna be late,” he said. “If you can seek another…route, do it! If [you] are stuck on 93, we are doing our best with what we have.”

By 8:15 a.m., police reported that all lanes along 93 southbound had reopened to traffic after protesters were cleared from the road. At that time, however, the situation was still causing traffic problems at the scene of the protest in Milton.

“It will be cleared soon,” said Finch. “If you’re going to protest, there is a time and safe place to do it. We encourage lawful assembly.”

Colonel Superintendent Tim Alben said 17 people were arrested in Medford. The number of arrests in Milton was not immediately available. Police had to use high-powered saws to free the protesters in Milton from the barrels full of concrete.