January 15, 2015 / 2:15 PM / 5 years ago

Protests against police violence close Boston highway

Police detain a group of protesters who blocked Interstate 93 southbound during the morning rush hour in Somerville, Massachusetts January 15, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

BOSTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts State Police on Thursday arrested 29 people who stopped traffic on two sections of a major highway into Boston during the morning rush hour to protest the recent killings by U.S. police of unarmed black men.

Protesters stopped traffic north and south of Boston during the morning rush hour, officials said. The protesters in Milton, to the south of the city, chained themselves to concrete barrels on the roadway.

“Our nonviolent direct action is meant to expose the reality that Boston is a city where white commuters and students use the city and leave, while black and brown communities are targeted by police, exploited and displaced,” organizer Katie Seitz said in a statement.

Massachusetts State Police said the protesters prevented an ambulance carrying a crash victim with life-threatening injuries from reaching a trauma center in Boston, and forced it to divert to a smaller hospital outside the city.

“Numerous other ambulances had to be on-scene while we cut protesters out of restraints, meaning they were not available if needed elsewhere,” the police said in a statement.

A wave of sometimes violent protests spread across the United States last year after grand juries in New York and Missouri declined to bring criminal charges against white police officers in the killings of unarmed black men.

Reporting by Scott Malone and Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Bill Trott and David Gregorio

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