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Black Lives Matter leader arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, protest

By Allen Cone and Shawn Price
Black Lives Matter leader arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, protest
Black Lives Matter leader DeRay Mckesson, who ran an unsuccessful bid to become Baltimore’s mayor last year, was arrested during a protest Saturday night in Baton Rouge, La., for obstruction of a highway. He was release Sunday. Photo by Wikipedia Creative Commons/flickr

BATON ROUGE, La., July 10 (UPI) -- A leader of the Black Lives Matter movement and three journalists were among 102 arrested Saturday during protests in Baton Rouge, police said.

Protests continued Sunday as the state's governor, John Bel Edwards, during a news conference applauded the peacefulness of residents but noted the tenor of the protests have changed because of the arrival of out-of-state demonstrators. He said the police tactics were "moderate" and "not overly aggressive" on Saturday night.

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Activist DeRay Mckesson, who ran unsuccessfully to become Baltimore's mayor last year, was live streaming on Periscope during the protest against last week's police shooting of Alton Sterling when he was arrested along a Louisiana highway. Mckesson, who faced a charge of obstructing a highway, was released Sunday.

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Mckesson said he would continue protesting on Sunday and believed the police were trying to intimidate people.

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"The police want protesters to be too afraid to protest, which is why they intentionally created a context of conflict, and I'll never be afraid to tell the truth," he said. "What we saw in Baton Rouge was a police department that chose to provoke protesters to create, like, a context of conflict they could exploit."

During the live feed, demonstrators are chanting, "No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police." Police officers on foot and in vehicles followed them.

One person, who may have been a police officer, can be heard saying to McKesson, "You with them loud shoes, I see you in the road. If I get close to you, you're going to jail." Other people tell the police there is no sidewalk. They were walking on the road shoulder.

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"I'm under arrest y'all," he said, before someone took his phone and continued streaming the video.

WNO, a local NPR affiliate, confirmed on Facebook on Sunday morning that one of its journalists, Ryan Kailath, remained in police custody in Baton Rouge on one count of obstruction of highway.

WAFB assistant news director Chris Slaughter, who was working as journalist for WAFB, told station management that he was arrested when he put one foot onto Airline Highway to try to get a better angle while recording the protest.

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Breitbart News reported Lee Stranahan was also arrested Saturday and charged with obstruction of a highway, the website reported Sunday.

The city's police department said in a press release it "appears the protest at Baton Rouge Police Headquarters have become more violent as out of town protesters are arriving."

Police confiscated three rifles, three shotguns and two pistols Saturday, BRPD said in a news release.

A Baton Rouge police officer had several teeth knocked out "as a projectile was thrown from the protest," BRPD said.

About 500 people marched from City Hall through downtown Baton Rouge on Saturday.

"Up until tonight, it's been pretty much a peaceful day. For the most part, we're trying to keep them out of traffic," said BRPD Police Chief Carl Dabadie. "Our biggest concern, right now, is the amount of people on the roadway. We don't want anybody hurt here, we don't want any of the officers hurt. We don't want any of the protesters hurt."

Edwards, after a briefing with law enforcement on Sunday, said people have the right to protest but they must follow directions of police. He also said he was thankful there were few injuries.

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"The best way to honor the memory of Alton Sterling, the Dallas law enforcement officers and Philando Castile is for peaceful demonstrations here in Louisiana," Edwards said.

Out of state protestors accounted for 19 of the 101 demonstrators arrested on Saturday night.

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