A Mike Brown protest interrupted a St. Louis Symphony performance on Saturday evening. Approximately 50 protesters sang a song about the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. The group also draped banners over the balcony decrying racism.
A few moments before the St. Louis Symphony was scheduled to begin their performance, the Mike Brown protesters stood up next to their seats and began singing. As the group of ticketed patrons erupted in song, three banners unfurled from the balcony of the symphony hall.
The Michael Brown protest banners read, “Requiem for Mike Brown 1996-2014″ — along with a similar one with a drawing of his face, “Racism Lives Here” — with an arrow pointing to a drawing the St. Louis arch, and another which said, “Rise Up and Join the Movement.”
The song about the Ferguson shooting stated, “Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all,” as well as, “Which side are you on, friend? Which side are you on?” Some members of the audience, including members of the symphony, issued a round of applause for the Michael Brown protesters.
But not all of those who purchased tickets to hear the St. Louis Symphony perform appeared to support the interruption. According to local news reports shared on The Blaze, some symphony patrons were reportedly “visibly annoyed,” and one individual is heard saying, “He was a thug” in a video recording of the protest. Once the group finished singing the protesters chanted, “black lives matter” approximately 10 times before leaving the St. Louis Symphony hall.
CNN reported that members of the crowd joined in with the flash mob chants before the end of the protest. The Mike Brown flash mob was reportedly the idea of Elizabeth Vega and Sarah Griesbach. Several weeks ago, the two women were handcuffed and booed after hanging similar banners regarding the Ferguson shooting at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.
“People were just outraged. How dare we interrupt a baseball game! They were saying really racist things,” Elizabeth Vega said after the protest.
“We probably need a different venue,” Sarah Griesbach said after being escorted out of the baseball stadium in handcuffs.
Griesbach and Vega looked for another event to stage a Mike Brown protest, and discovered that the symphony was scheduled to perform a requiem – a musical composition which was created as a Mass for the repose of the souls of the dead, a token of remembrance.
“We wanted something that would stick with people,” Vegas said.
The women used social media to find “strong singers,” and the flash mob practiced three times before the event. The Michael Brown protest lasted less than two minutes.
The St. Louis Police Department did not receive any complaint from the venue regarding the Mike Brown protest.
What do you think about the Michael Brown protest at the St. Louis Symphony and claims that racism played a role in the shooting?
[Image via: YouTube screengrab]