A protest against the lack of indictment of Darren Wilson–the Ferguson, MO police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown–took place Nov. 25 in front of the Washington County courthouse.

The protest was organized by the Fayetteville group OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology. Protesters began to arrive at noon and remained for several hours.

Many UA students were present at the event, which had over 100 participants.

"Let our hurt be shown to the justice system,” said Kai Tribble, a senior.

At 12:30 p.m., five people from the protest walked out onto College Avenue, kneeling on the pavement with their hands up for several minutes and blocking traffic. A police officer spoke to the group and asked them to quit blocking traffic, but after minutes of not complying, police officers arrested them.

The remaining protesters continued on the sidewalk unabated, chanting "hands up, don't shoot" and "no justice, no peace" among other things while tambourines and African drums were played. Many of the protesters brought hand-made signs and waved them as cars passed by the courthouse.

A few people prayed in a group during the protest and later joined hands together in a circle to exchange their stories of why they were at the protest and their similar experiences.

The group also sang “We Shall Overcome” together, a song which was prominent during the civil rights movement.

The only form of counter-protest was a man on the opposite side of Dickson holding a sign saying “Darren Wilson is a hero.”

 "I just want to make sure people know that killing people that are unarmed is not cool," said Jerrad Carter, Civil Rights Round Table of NWA and co-founder of Hands Up NWA. "There are laws set up to protect officer and citizens and they are abusing those laws. I'm going to stand up for kids and children everywhere because I have kids and this sucks. When ask about the message he hopes this protest will send." 
 
When asked about their plans to block traffic, Carter said, "We plan to block traffic for about four minutes and get people to realize that just because things aren't going bad for us in our world here that we're just a mistake away from this becoming Ferguson.  
 
Carter was asked his thoughts on the violence happening in Ferguson, Mo. right now. As tears began to stream down his face Carter added, "I struggle with being a peaceful protester but I do my best.  It's hard to deny people the pain they feel inside.  I understand their pain.  I wish they would channel it differently but I can't blame them for how they feel."  

Sgt. Craig Stout of Fayetteville Police Department said this protest was interesting because the Omni Peace Center and Hands UP NWA actually coordinating this event with the FPD. 

"There has been open dialog back and forth for the 4 people that plan on being arrested for civil disobedience," Stout said.

"They've communicated with us what they plan to do and we've communicated back. This had been well choreographed to make sure it's a safe event for everyone. They are here to express their First Amendment rights which we fully support and we're just here to keep things safe. Our hearts go out to the people in Ferguson for what they are going through. We are just thankful to the positive relationship that we have with our pubic and are glad that we don't have those issues here in Fayetteville," Stout said. 

 

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