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Rt. 8 shutdown in Bridgeport by protesters

Demonstration in response to George Floyd

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Two people were arrested after portions of Route 8 were shut down for hours after activists blocked both sides of the interstate.

22-year-old Alia Cotton and 21-year-old Tioni Martinez were charged with negligent pedestrian, interference with officer/resisting and breach of peace of the 2nd degree.

FOX61 followed protesters on their march as they shared their frustrations about what’s happening nationwide and right here in Connecticut.

Protestors showed their frustrations for all to see after shutting down the highway moments after activists say they were pushed away from the Bridgeport Police precinct.

Joe Grits said, “I requested to talk to the chief and they pepper-sprayed me, they wouldn’t let us go into the precinct, we just wanted to talk and it wasn’t the whole crowd it was a few of us.”

Police say they requested twice for people to leave the area before deploying the pepper spray.

After organizers left that’s when the highway was shut down.

Activists in Bridgeport join many across the nation showing outrage after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

RELATED: Protests in honor of George Floyd continue in the Twin Cities Sunday

RELATED: Protesters in New Haven block I-95; Also I-95 North in Norwalk

The officer seen in the video kneeling on Floyd’s neck charged with 3rd-degree murder.

During the march, Jazmarie Melendez said, “We’re standing in solidarity with the protesters for George Floyd, but also to name the police department and all the corruption in Bridgeport.”

Aside from some water being thrown at police, the protest was mainly peaceful as many were seen marching all the way to the McLevy Green downtown sharing their message.

“We are in solidarity with what we see happening around the nation, but there’s a crisis of police violence right here in Connecticut and it’s in Bridgeport, it’s in New Haven, it’s in the rural and in the suburban areas, not just an urban city,” said Kerry Ellington.

Organizers say there is a history of police aggression toward black and brown people as they remembered 15-year old Jayson Negron who was shot and killed by officer James Boulay when officers were reportedly patrolling the city's west end three years ago.

Officer Boulay’s actions were ruled justified by the states attorney.

The family now in a federal civil lawsuit with the city.

Protestors say at the end of the day they just want peace.

9-year-old Melody Lewis who was seen marching along with her parents said, “This could’ve been my uncle, it could’ve been my family or my dad and that we shouldn’t be killing people that we don’t know are we shouldn’t be doing the stuff because it’s very hurtful.”

Organizers and police remained calm throughout the demonstrations seen Saturday which speaks to the resolve of the community for things not to escalate but still have their message heard.

The city of Bridgeport sent out this statement:

We commend our Bridgeport Community for hosting a peaceful and meaningful protest today. Feelings of frustration & heartache are validated by what we saw, as to the need for change. We are united on these matters. 

Our officers exhibited restraint and understanding throughout, as our community deserves the opportunity to share their voice and be heard.

It is unfortunate that some came to interrupt this show of community solidarity.

-City of Bridgeport