Michigan Group Successfully Declared A Cop-Free Zone Near Belle Isle
With the Black Lives Matter movement in full affect, and all members and supporters calling for the de-funding of police across the country, many groups are starting to use their right to assemble as a way to paint a picture to what our future as a society could look like if taken in a new direction. On July 9th, a group of activists gathered at the intersection of eastbound Jefferson Avenue and Grand Boulevard in front of Belle Isle.
While occupying this area, police had to eventually move in and re-direct traffic as the demonstrators played basketball, drew with chalk and blew bubbles according to Freep. The demonstrations were fueled with the demand that the $330 million budget for the police needs to be cut in half so that it can be redistributed back into the Black communities for housing needs, education centers, access to water and street lights.
That demand was vocalized by Leon Hister, one of the near 30 demonstrators from what was called the "313 Liberation Zone." There were young and older, black and white organizers who occupied the area, as they primarily wanted to create a space centered on Black joy, leisure and play. One of the main reasons being because at the start of the pandemic, the city removed basketball hoops. Belle Isle is a go-to area for recreation in the Detroit Metro area.
After police arrived around 5:40 p.m., the group was asked to disperse, to which one of the leaders requested, and was granted, 10 extra minutes to assemble. No arrests were made from the police in the dozen police cars and armored vehicle that was sent to the scene.