Dozens of protesters staged a die-in demonstration New Year's Eve during Boston's annual First Night festivities. The event saw activists lay down on the ground in opposition to the recent killings of young unarmed black men by police officers who were not indicted in connection with the incidents.
Many held up signs with slogans like "black lives matter" and "I can't breathe" during the protest, which was modeled after similar demonstrations held in New York City's Grand Central Station and other locales across the U.S.
No one was arrested, and the First Night celebration was not impacted negatively by the proceedings Wednesday, Boston police said, according to CBS Boston. It appears that the protesters listened to entreaties over recent days by the Boston Police Department and Mayor Martin J. Walsh asking them to be respectful of the parade down Boylston Street, as reported by the Boston Globe.
“We’re going to accommodate the protesters if they choose to do so. But we will not let it disrupt the events,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said in a press conference Wednesday alongside Walsh and Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn, according to ABC News. “I can only appeal that if people are going to demonstrate, just realize there are a lot of young kids out there, a lot of families.
Die-in protests have been a popular method of nonviolent protest across America in the wake of the lack of indictments against the officers who killed unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August and the July death of unarmed Staten Island, New York, resident Eric Garner due to an NYPD officer's chokehold.
The deaths sparked a national conversation about race and brutal police tactics across the U.S. that continues in the form of discussions, policy considerations and protests like Wednesday night's die-in in Boston.