Protesters Arrested For Blocking Traffic In Downtown Grand Rapids
Above Photo: Immigration activists take part in the “Bridges Not Walls Protest” at the Blue Bridge in downtown Grand Rapids on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. President Donald J. Trump plans to build a wall on the Mexican border. (Cory Morse | MLive.com) (Cory Morse)
Note this protest involved immigrant rights activists, workers and allies showing solidarity with immigrant families facing increased ICE detention and deportation. The action is part of a national movement of cities across the country that are joining the May 1st “Day Without Immigrants” National Strike. KZ
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Three protesters were arrested Thursday, April 20, after blocking traffic on a busy downtown street, according to police.
They were part of a larger group protesting what they called the inhumane targeting of illegal immigrants in West Michigan by federal authorities.
Grand Rapids police were called to Ottawa Avenue outside the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building just before 1 p.m. on Thursday for the report of traffic being obstructed.
Once officers arrived on scene, they discovered three people holding a large banner and blocking traffic on Ottawa Avenue.
The banner displayed the message “we will stop disrupting you when you stop disrupting our families.”
Following several warnings, police say, a 64-year-old male, a 40-year-old male and a 49-year-old female were all arrested on charges of Impeding Traffic and Resisting and Obstructing.
The group was demonstrating on behalf of an organization called “Movimiento Cosecha GR” which seeks undisputed protection for immigrants in the city.
They staged a march from Calder Plaza to the nearby federal building at the intersection of Michigan and Ottawa.
“They knew this was a possibility,” said Cynthia Quintana, who spoke on behalf of the group. “(Those who got arrested) are our allies. These actions need to happen so that we can get attention from people.”
Immigration has been a hot topic not just nationwide, but specifically in West Michigan. Last month, 600 people participated in a Day Without Immigrants demonstration in Grand Rapids.
About 40 people participated in the protest that at one point blocked traffic attempting to merge onto Ottawa Avenue from 1-196.
“We were trying to send a message,” Quintana said. “We’re trying to say that we are happy people. We are peaceful people.”