Police have reopened all the Interstate 93 lanes that were blocked by activists protesting what they call “police and state violence against black people” Thursday morning.
State police shut down Interstate 93 north-bound at East Milton Square south of the city, and Interstate 93 south at Mystic Avenue north of the city at the peak of rush-hour traffic Thursday morning, disrupting travel for thousands of drivers making their morning commute.
“Although the protesters have been removed from I93 traffic, expect traffic delays to continue for the immediate future,” state police Lt. Daniel Richard tweeted.
The southbound lanes were reopened at about 8 a.m. and the northbound lanes at 10 a.m. the Miami Herald reported.
State police say 23 protesters, some of whom chained themselves to concrete-filled barrels, were arrested during the protest. Activists also proudly waved signs reading “United Against Racism” and “The System is Racist Shut it Down.”
“Arrests will be ongoing at any and all locations where individuals have obstructed traffic,” tweeted Massachusetts Col. Supt. Tim Alben.
The Boston contingent of Black Lives Matter said in a statement that the protest was designed to “confront white complacency in the systemic oppression of black people in Boston.”
“Activists have shut down Interstate 93 Southbound and Northbound during morning rush hour commute into Boston to ‘disrupt business as usual’ and protest police and state violence against Black people,” states the release.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh deemed the protests as dangerous.
Gov. Charlie Baker thanked police and first responders for handling the protest professionally.
“The Governor believes the events that inspired recent demonstrations are tragedies but feels engaging in substantive conversations with public safety officials, not endangering drivers and impeding access to medical facilities, is the best way forward,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Guyton said in a statement.
The Boston area has seen several protests in November and December following grand jury decisions not to indict officers in police-involved deaths of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York. But local protesters had yet to shut down major highways until Thursday morning.
Boston Interstate 93 Reopened Following Morning Protests