Protests and acts of civil disobedience continue this week in both Ferguson and St. Louis as the calls and chants that “Black lives matter” gain strength. Protesters are getting louder and bolder and more and more people are getting arrested. Add Dr. Cornel West, one of the nation’s most famous public intellectuals to the list. West was arrested yesterday when he and several religious leaders were arrested while demonstrating in front of the police station.
According to a New York Times report, West told the police officers who were keeping demonstrators from entering the police station that he was there to support the youth.
“We’re here because we love the young folks,” West reportedly said.
West’s arrest was apparently premeditated. According to the Huffington Post, he told an audience at St. Louis University Sunday night that he planned to get arrested, presumably to bring more attention to the cause.
“It’s a beautiful thing to see people on fire for justice, but I didn’t come here to give a speech,” West said on Sunday night. “I came here to go to jail.”
Monday’s events were patterned after the Moral Mondays that started in North Carolina and religious leaders gathered in demonstration and their tactics were reminiscent of the Civil Rights Era. These
The New York Times reported that by Monday evening, the authorities said a total of at least 50 arrests on charges that included “refusal to disperse” and “peace disturbance.” No injuries were reported, and officials noted that the protesters, in some cases, were openly asking to be arrested.
“Arrests were not made until protesters started bumping police officers’ shields and eventually forcing through the police skirmish line,” a police spokesman said.