Monday was May Day, which meant it was International Worker’s Day and in honor of the occasion, a collection of the city’s activist organizers threw a two-and-a-half hour long protest.
Beginning at the construction site for the new Police Department Headquarters on East Main Street around 5 p.m., members of some of Durham’s most active activist groups — including the Durham Beyond Policing Campaign, Black Youth Project 100, Inside-Outside Alliance and The Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the “Wobblies,” — marched to the Durham County jail where speakers spoke around 6 p.m., marched onward and ended up at City Hall shortly before 7 p.m.
The Durham City Council was scheduled to begin its meeting there at 7 p.m. On the council meeting’s agenda was Police Chief C.J. Davis’s presentation of her department’s 2017 First Quarter Crime Report.
While the councilwomen and councilmen took their seats, outside on City Hall Plaza a couple hundred protesters chanted, read each others messaged signs, listened to words amplified by bullhorns and began to file into City Hall themselves, making for the Council Chambers to a soundtrack of beating drums. Instead of walking, some demonstrators semi-danced through City Hall’s doors. Police checked bags.
The Chambers became very full. A small band of seven protesters formed a line in front the City Council, taking center stage and facing away from the council to better address their audience — namely their comrades, filling the Chambers aisles.
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