A community-organized protest may disrupt Austin traffic this morning, and police are asking commuters to make other plans.
The group, which began by blocking traffic at Lamar, has now moved to just outside City Hall. Hundreds of people are signed up to testify at today's City Council meeting on major changes to police funding and policy—though the meeting is taking place virtually.
A group of protesters have blocked Cesar Chavez west of City Hall. Seek alternate routes and expect delays.… https://t.co/uFSrRYfaJR— ATX Transportation (@ATX Transportation)1591887092.0
The event, entitled "Wakey Wakey: Disruption Series/Part One" on Facebook, was planned with the goal of disturbing morning traffic in the name of defunding and abolishing the Austin Police Department.
"One of our goals is to ultimately bankrupt APD by making sure their resources are being spread thinner and thinner," organizers Andie Flores and Leslie Lozano wrote.
The protest was scheduled to have what organizers called a "radical reading circle" and a "Cumbia circle" running simultaneously starting at 8:00 am Thursday morning. The reading circle is at the intersection of W. 6th and N. Lamar while the Cumbia circle is at W. Riverside and S. Lamar.
"I'm sure we'll have snags, but the point is to show support and raise awareness," Flores said yesterday. "If the toughest part of someone's day is going to be a little temporary traffic jam, I think they'll be OK."
The reading and dancing will help protestors "imagine a world without police" and "live out joy that brings attention to this call to action," according to the event page. Texts include selections by authors Toni Morrison, Resmaa Menakem and Amiri Baraka. They will also read reports from MPD150, an organization calling for "a police free Minneapolis," where protests erupted two weeks ago after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
Police are not welcome to participate in the dancing, according to the event page.
"To be clear, the cumbia circle is an effort to be in community with other Latinx friends and folks and make sure we're talking about how we as a people have historically contributed to anti-Blackness, both in Austin and otherwise," Flores wrote. "We want to have fun and be joyful and take up space to show support, but we also want to make sure we're acknowledging how we've been part of the problem."
"As long as the police exist… Black people will always be in danger and will always be targets of the police," Flores said.
Editor's note: This story is developing and has been updated.
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