On Saturday, July 9, BlackLivesMatter demonstrators began a public protest action at the intersection of Blackstone and Shaw in Fresno. Beginning at 5pm, people met at the intersection, and began blocking traffic at one of Fresno’s busiest rush-hour intersections. Marchers then headed towards Freeway 41, apparently intending to block traffic. Officers from the CHP, Fresno Police, and Fresno County Sheriff’s Office Deputies prevented the group from entering the busy freeway. Marchers then made their way down various streets in the area, and ended up on Shaw Avenue, close to Fashion Fair Mall. Eventually, after a walk through Fashion Fair mall’s parking lot, and after a small contingent walked through the interior of the mall, marchers returned to Shaw Avenue, and headed east. Law enforcement again prevented them from entering Highway 168 at the border with the city of Clovis. Marchers continued to Clovis Avenue, turned north, and made their way, eventually, to Clovis Police headquarters, where a short street sit-in was held. Several speakers addressed the crowd, a minister led the group in a prayer, and then they peacefully dispersed.
In the march were at least two people recognizing black transgender victims of violence. Carrying a red banner that read “Black Trans Lives Matter”, one of the marchers was adorned with a rainbow flag, and was briefly interviewed by a news reporter embedded with the marchers. If anyone knows who the marchers are, please let me know at [email protected], and I’ll update this post with their names and affiliation (if any).
The march was mostly peaceful, with minor skirmishes with law enforcement when they tried to enter Highway 41, and again when “anti-protesters” became involved in a scuffle with marchers at the border with Clovis. Organizers and police quickly broke up the fight between several white individuals, one holding a sign saying he protested the protest, and some of the marchers. The crowd quickly moved on past the small group of individuals.
The protest, which grew into a 5 hour, 7 mile march, was covered in real time on several Facebook live feeds. Fresno TV stations had reporters and cameramen embedded with the march, using their cellphones to provide as-it-happened video to viewers. Fresno PD was also watching from their command center, and at least two helicopters watched from overhead.
Image ABC30 News screen capture.