Photos: June 24 reproductive rights protest on the Plaza

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Roe vs. Wade reproductive rights protest at the Plaza on Friday, June 24, 2022. // Photo by Jim Nimmo

Last week’s news was a dumpster fire of depression and outrage. 

On Friday, June 24 after the overturning of Roe vs. Wade was announced, a reproductive rights protest was organized at Mill Creek Park near the Country Club Plaza.

Over the years, the park has served as a staging ground for many protests. It has become known as the place to gather and for voices in the community to be heard. Friday night was no exception as several hundred people gathered around a portable microphone powered by a small generator.

For three hours, the crowds slowly grew while organizers urged anyone to come forward to “share our stories, so that we can create a reference for others to understand.”

Many women explained how their lives had been affected by abortion, men shared their support for choice, politicians demanded action, and children asked why they now have fewer rights than their predecessors.

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Roe vs. Wade reproductive rights protest at the Plaza on Friday, June 24, 2022. // Photo by Jim Nimmo

Sadness and anger came through in chants and signs such as: “Change comes from getting on the streets and making noise. Burn it down if you have to!”

There was a certain surreal feeling to the whole night. Spiderman hung out on the outskirts of the rally posing for pictures with children. One woman stood naked from the waist up on the front row wearing only paint and a pink crocheted mask to hide her identity.

Some protesters feared violent counter-protests and openly carried weapons. Some sat silently on the grass in mourning. Missouri State Rep. Emily Weber urged the crowd to get out and vote for their rights.

Eventually, the rally began to march through the Plaza and past a group of a half-dozen Christian fundamentalists rejoicing in the court’s decision. And the crowd turned ugly.

A shouting match ensued as protesters pushed forward, forcing the minister backwards. The altercation led to one of the counter-protesters being dragged into the street as his banner was being snatched away. Many screamed,”This is a peaceful fucking protest,” eventually stopping the violence while helping the man back up.

The march continued further into the Plaza. Police were called to assist a man—unrelated to the march—who appeared to be experiencing a mental health crisis. The officer was eventually forced to restrain the man.

At this moment, protesters approached from one direction while approximately 100 bicyclists came from the other. The crowd met at the corner where the man was restrained. Protesters pulled out their phones, and officers requested backup. Once emergency personnel arrived, and the man was safely transported to the hospital.

Despite high tension, the situation was mitigated, and the protesters disbanded shortly after.

 

Categories: Politics