By Scott Buttram
BIRMINGHAM — The Black Lives Matter group’s planned protest is under way, according to multiple media sources. So far, about 100 people are participating in the event.
People began gathering at the Summit shopping center in Birmingham at 3 p.m. Friday to protest recent deaths of two unarmed black males, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, during police encounters. Grand juries in both cases refused to indict the law enforcement officers involved.
The “shutdown” protest at the Summit was scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday with a “die in” protest planned for 4:30 p.m. at the Galleria in Hoover on the same day.
Throughout Friday afternoon mixed messages were relayed to the media with announcements that the protests had been called off or postponed only to be met with messages on the Black Lives Matter- Birmingham Facebook page that the events would proceed as scheduled.
Media reports also say that there is a large police presence at the Highway 280 mall and traffic has not been blocked by the marchers at this time.
John Huddleston of Fox 6 reported at 5 p.m. that the Galleria protest had ended and the crowd was dispersing. Huddleston said protestors complied with police request to move to the center of the food court, where they laid down for a few minutes and the event ended soon after.