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Breaking Up City Hall Sit-In, Baltimore Police Arrest 12 Demonstrators

Police stand near vans holding protesters early Thursday in Baltimore.
Juliet Linderman

Baltimore Police arrested a dozen demonstrators who had remained inside City Hall through the early morning.

The protest began last night during a hearing on the permanent appointment of Baltimore Police Interim Commissioner Kevin Davis. As the AP reports, the activists don't want the city council to move forward with the appointment before a series of demands — including changes to police tactics and investments in education — are met.

Colin Campbell, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, shot this video of the moment when protesters interrupted the council meeting:

Remember, the Baltimore Police Department has been in turmoil since the death of Freddie Gray led to days of peaceful protests and a night of riots. That incident was followed by a spike in crime and, in July, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired police commissioner Anthony Batts and she appointed Davis into the interim role.

Ultimately, by a vote of 3-to-2, the subcommittee voted to send Davis' appointment to the full council. But the protesters refused to leave City Hall, many of them staying in the building after midnight.

Baltimore BLOC, one of the organizations that organized the protest, tweeted out videos of what happened on the balcony late into the night:

The Baltimore Sun reports that at about 4:45 a.m., police moved in to remove the remaining protesters. The paper adds:

"As she was being placed in back of the police van, one protester yelled "Ay yo commissioner, what's good?"

"She also yelled to other protesters that if she died in police custody it was not suicide. ...

"Baltimore Police said that after 'hours of communication and warnings, a small number of protesters inside of City Hall decided to leave the building.' The remaining protesters were arrested and charged with trespassing, police said, adding there were no reported injuries to any protesters or officers."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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