Protesters caused traffic issues capital city on Monday afternoon as they chanted against police brutality.
People lined the streets and intersections in the area of Old State House as well as Central Row and American Row around 4:30 p.m. The protests are causing traffic delays as people chanted "Black lives matter."
Police gave the crowd a warning to disperse before 17 people were arrested by officers. The protests were largely peaceful, and officers remained patient with protesters, according to police.
Police said they did not know about the protest, which was part of a national movement called Moral Mondays and Black Lives Matter.
"We were surprised by this. We had to take a lot of community resources out of the community and respond to this," said Hartford Police Chief James Rovella.
However, organizers admitted while they didn't inform police of the protest, it was posted on social media.
"This is about coming to the public and making a statement and getting attention about the issues about the systems that are oppressing black people and taking lives," said Pamela Selders, who organized the protest.The protesters said their message was to show their displeasure over how Hartford police and law enforcement across the country treat minority groups.
"We want better structure for our police, better structure for our government because the way our government is, our kids got no future," said protester Jeaninne Smith.
The participants held hands while standing in the crosswalk, blocking eastbound and westbound traffic on Central Row, impacting the evening commute.
Police said 17 people were arrested. They were each released on $5,000 bonds and were charged with disorderly conduct. All arrested are expected to appear in court on June 17.
No injuries were reported.
Protesters said their arrests don't matter; their message for equality is what matters.
"White people got to be concerned about racism. It's that simple. It's a white problem. It's a system that white people created, and white people have to take responsibility," said Rev. Josh Pawelek.
The streets reopened around 5:30 p.m.
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