Iowa City asks protesters to stop blocking I-80
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - After forcing a shut down on the interstate on three consecutive nights, Iowa City’s mayor and other leaders are urging ongoing protests to stop blocking I-80.
"The local protests are important. This is a moment of necessary change. We are ready to keep working. Let’s shift some of the action from the streets to City Hall,” Mayor Bruce Teague said in a statement Saturday while vowing he and other leaders will march with protesters starting at 7:00 pm.
Teague made four specific requests of the protest:
- Refrain from using fire or any kind of explosives, including fireworks;
- Remain on foot;
- Stay on public property and do not access or damage private property;
- Avoid stopping traffic on the Interstate, either on foot or by stopped vehicles.
The protests in response to the death of George Floyd while in police custody sparked several days of protests across the nation and in Iowa City. On Wednesday night, a march of protesters moved toward the interstate and police fired tear gas into the crowd to stop them. During the showdown, the Iowa DOT shutdown I-80 through Coralville and Iowa City, though protesters never entered the interstate.
The next day, police say they were more prepared and preemptively shut down I-80 as the march approached. Despite a reported agreement with protesters, some people still entered the interstate and spray-painted messages there. Yet, there was no physical confrontation with law enforcement.
A similar scene played out Friday with law enforcement monitoring the protests, shutting down the Interstate and letting some protesters walk onto the Interstate without incident.
Saturday’s plea from the city also urged people to wear face coverings and try to follow social distancing to limit spreading of COVID-19.
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