‘Wakey Wakey’ protests in downtown Austin Thursday move off the street, remain peaceful

Austin

Note: The above video is a recording of our previously live broadcast of the protests from 8:12-8:48 a.m.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two “disruptions” were scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Thursday in downtown Austin that the group says are aimed to impede morning traffic, and, as the event’s Facebook page says, “ultimately bankrupt APD.”

The event called “Wakey Wakey: A Disruption” is the first in a series of protests that organizers say include a radical reading circle, which four excerpts will be read out loud at the intersection of West 6th Street and North Lamar Boulevard, and a Cumbia dance circle at the intersection of West Riverside Avenue and South Lamar Boulevard.

As the protest began, Austin police officers intervened and told the group they could not block traffic, or else they’d be subject to arrest. After an exchange of words between the groups and officers, the group moved to the sidewalks and continued the peaceful protest.

Organizers of the event say it’s a way to voice support of black lives, and the end goal is to abolish the Austin Police Department entirely.

One of the organizers, Andie Flores, talked with KXAN’s Candy Rodriguez during the demonstration, and said the Latinx community “is listening and we want to help.”

“This isn’t an issue we need black folks to fix. It’s an issue we need white folks to fix,” Flores said. “There are a lot of conversations to have about deep-seeded racism in our community.”

The texts organizers chose to read out loud specifically “call upon us to imagine a world without police, where we can be in more full community with each other.”

The group will read passages from:

  • My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Mekanem
  • Mourning Whiteness by Toni Morrison
  • Selected works by Amiri Baraka
  • The MPD150 Report

“It’s no secret that anti-Blackness has long been perpetuated by deep-seeded racism in Latinx communities,” the event’s Facebook page says. “If we demand the protection of Black lives, we also vow to examine our own roles in their endangerment. We must hold space for AfroLatinx voices and understand the ways in which we must do better and demand our friends and family do better.”

Organizers made it clear they do not want police to be part of the dance circle, and said none of the protest’s participants should allow police to dance with them.

Organizers are demanding that Austin Police Chief Brian Manley be fired, and that APD be defunded and the money be reinvested into community initiatives.

The protest is scheduled to last for three hours.

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