Youth activists are blocking a major intersection in downtown Boston after holding a rally at City Hall calling on Mayor Marty Walsh to redirect funding for police to social programs.
People were sitting in crosswalks at the five-way intersection of Congress and State streets where, 250 years ago, the Boston Massacre took place. Tuesday's protest has been peaceful, with police so far not stepping in to move the scores of protesters who have stopped traffic.
Activists from the Youth Justice and Power Union, Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project and The City School had begun their rally at 3 p.m. at City Hall Plaza.
Organizers want Walsh to reduce the overall police budget by 10 percent and invest the money in Black and brown communities and increase job opportunities for young people.
Earlier this month, Walsh submitted a revised budget for the 2021 fiscal year in which he called for diverting some police overtime funds to support police reforms and bolster social services.
The new budget involves reallocating 20%, or $12 million, of the Boston Police Department's overtime budget to invest in equity and inclusion after Walsh on Friday declared racism a public health crisis.
Racial justice activists, however, have called on Walsh to divest more funds from the police budget.
The killing of George Floyd has sparked demonstrations nationwide as the country reckons with its racial and police history. There have been dozens of events in Massachusetts, nearly all of them peaceful.
Earlier Tuesday, community activists interrupted a news conference being held by Gov. Charlie Baker in Mattapan to question a provision in hiss police reform bill, filed last week, that would make officers eligible for one-time bonuses of up to $5,000 if they receive additional training in deescalation techniques, bias-free policing or narcotics.
Baker apologized to one man who said he'd been trying to set up a meeting with him for two months.