At least two protests are planned for the annual Noel Night tonight in Detroit as thousands of people descend on Midtown for the annual holiday celebration.
Another two protests are scheduled for today that aren’t connected with Noel Night.
The first Midtown rally begins at 6 p.m. in front of the Detroit Institute of Arts at 5200 Woodward. Participants are encouraged to bring signs. “No Justice, No Peace,” reads a flyer for the rally. “Shut it down.”
A second rally – a die-in – is scheduled for 8:03 p.m. on the steps of the DIA. Dozens – if not hundreds – of protesters plan to lie down, quietly uttering, “I can’t breathe,” the final words of Eric Garner before he was killed by a New York City cop using an illegal stranglehold. Then protesters will lie limp to symbolize Garner’s death.
About three dozens protesters gathered for a die-in at Campus Martius in downtown Detroit before marching on Woodward and blocking a lane of traffic. Check out our photo gallery.
“Whose streets?” protesters chanted. “Our streets!”
The local protests are known for evolving into civil disobedience as people express outrage over the disproportionate number of black and Latino people killed by police without much accountability.
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Apart from the Noel Night protests, two other rallies are scheduled for today in Detroit.
A die-in is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Livernios and 7 Mile. Protesters will lie down for 15-and-a-half minutes – 11 minutes for each time Garner gasped, “I can’t breathe,” and 4-and-a-half minutes for the number of hours that Michael Brown was left dead in the streets of Ferguson. Protesters are asked to show up at 2:30 p.m.
Another protest is scheduled for 5 p.m. outside the Eastern Precinct of the Detroit Police Department at 11187 Gratiot. The rally is expected to include marching on the streets.
A little more than a week ago, protesters blocked three freeways in Detroit, resulting in a handful of arrests. Despite the disruptions, all of the protests have been peaceful.
The rallies, which started with Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, have been gaining momentum in Detroit since the grand jury failed to indict Eric Garner, who is seen dying on video.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.