“Black Lives Matter” protest in Springfield disrupted traffic and business

22News spoke with businesses impacted by the people in the street.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- “Black Lives Matter” protests have increased dramatically since some well-publicized deaths of black men at the hands of police, and the angry shouts are even being heard in the streets of Springfield.

The “X”, the intersection of Sumner and Belmont Avenues is considered one of Springfield’s busiest, and it was blocked in a Black Lives Matter protest Tuesday around 3 p.m.

Domenic DeMarinis works at World Pawn and Loan which is right at Springfield’s X.  He caught the crowds on camera as 15 of the 40 protesters decided to lock arms in the middle of the roadway.   DeMarinis said it wasn’t just the traffic that was backed up for a half hour. “Store becomes dead. Nobody walks through the store . Everybodys hanging around out front.”

Springfield police said obstructing the X intersection wasn’t just inconvenient for drivers at the time it was also very dangerous. But some residents I spoke with said the philosophy of the protest wouldn’t have been heard otherwise.

“Something bad has to happen. Somebodies business has to get shutdown. Somebody has to get hurt real bad for people to pay attention for things to go on out here and that’s everywhere,” Darnell Redfield, of Springfield told 22News.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno tried to reason with the protesters and encourage them to get back on the sidewalk, and police warned them several times to get out of the street.  When they stayed in the street, they were arrested.

Police said that as some of the protesters were being handcuffed they expressed their desire to be arrested.

 

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