Protesters disperse after Black Lives Matter demonstration
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Demonstrators with Black Lives Matter ended their protest early Monday morning after shutting down Interstate 126 and peacefully returning to the State House.
A group of more than 100 demonstrators gathered at the foot of the State House steps and made their way down Main Street shortly after 8 p.m., winding their way through downtown Columbia.
All along the march route, members of local law enforcement worked alongside the group, closing intersections for them to pass.
At one point in the evening, however, the group traveled down Elmwood Avenue and onto Interstate 126, in both the inbound and outbound lanes.
This prompted the South Carolina Department of Transportation to close the highway for about an hour over safety concerns.
Traffic was rerouted from both the eastern end of I-126 at Elmwood and Huger Streets and inbound traffic was diverted at the Greystone Blvd. exit.
The protesters made their way back to the steps of the State House shortly after 10:00 p.m., and according to reports from the scene, remained peaceful.
So far, no arrests have been made in connection with the protest.
Sunday night's protest prompted Mayor Steve Benjamin to release a statement explaining reforms to the Columbia Police Department following officer-involved shootings around the country.
"Our country is facing unfathomable times and grief, but here in Columbia, we've embraced the power of encouraging prayer, thoughtful, non-violent protests, and open communication," Benjamin said in the statement. "In implementing meaningful systemic reforms and treating our officers like the professionals they are, we've laid a foundation for continued growth and understanding."
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