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Standoff between protesters and police ends peacefully in Coralville

Iowa State Patrol troopers block entry to Interstate 80

Black Lives Matters protesters continue along Iowa Avenue after blocking the intersection with Madison Street during a T
Black Lives Matters protesters continue along Iowa Avenue after blocking the intersection with Madison Street during a Thursday afternoon march in Iowa City. Protesters marched from the University of Iowa Pentacrest to the First Avenue interchange of Interstate 80 in Coralville before disbanding. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CORALVILLE — An hourlong standoff between Black Lives Matter protesters and law enforcement ended peacefully Thursday evening.

After a two-day break from demonstrating, protesters returned to the Pentacrest on Thursday afternoon. The Iowa Freedom Riders called for the protest on social media after the demands they gave to the Iowa City Council were not met.

The Iowa City Council discussed those demands for more than two hours on Tuesday and plan to call for Johnson County to get rid of an armored transport vehicle and also plan to review the citations given protesters.

Mayor Bruce Teague suggested a majority of demands, however, be considered by a yet-unformed independent committee.

Thursday’s demonstration began with chanting in front of the spray paint-stained Old Capitol before marching west. The protest continued toward Coralville; shutting down the intersection of First Avenue and Second Street for 10 minutes at 5 p.m. before heading north toward Interstate 80.

Several blocks before reaching the overpass protesters stopped and prepared for a confrontation with law enforcement — the Iowa State Patrol was deployed ahead, positioned behind concrete barriers and equipped with shields and batons.

“Remember, don’t try to fight them,” protest leaders advised the group.

Protest leaders met with law enforcement officials at the overpass, but that exchange ended acrimoniously with demonstrators voicing their displeasure and one official warning, “You’re choosing to get gassed.”

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Ultimately, however, the protesters never passed the concrete barriers after an hour of chanting and sharing stories of negative interactions with law enforcement. The demonstrators then disbanded.

The Iowa City Council is scheduled to discuss their demands at Tuesday’s formal meeting.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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