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'Black Lives Matter' Protest Snarls Traffic On Busy Holiday Travel Day

LOS ANGELES ( — Nine protesters were arrested Wednesday after staging a demonstration in the middle of a freeway in Inglewood, blocking traffic on a busy holiday travel day.

Four women, three men and two boys were taken into custody to be booked on suspicion of felony vandalism and conspiracy.

The protest began about 1:30 p.m. on the southbound 405 Freeway near Manchester Boulevard, said Sgt. Paul Peterson of the West Los Angeles California Highway Patrol Office.

Peterson said: "They painted names, words and slogans including `Black Lives Matter' on the surface of all five lanes of pavement," forcing the California Highway Patrol to completely shut down a portion of the freeway.

The graffiti also included the word "Ezell," a reference to Ezell Ford, who was killed in a Los Angeles police officer-involved shooting.

Images and video posted to social media appeared to show protesters walking across the freeway and spray-painting the pavement.

All parties involved were moved onto the right shoulder of the freeway about 10 minutes later, CHP Officer Ramerto Salcido said. Tow trucks were also called to remove the protesters' vehicles.

Black Lives Matter said jamming traffic and causing drivers inconvenience on a busy holiday travel day was exactly its plan to express the members' anger about what they feel are unjustified police shootings of black people and weak punishment for the shooters.

"We have hundreds of families who are going to be inconvenienced not only this Christmas but every Christmas hereafter for the rest of their lives because the state has allowed the taking of their families member with no repercussions whatsoever. That is an inconvenience," said Black Lives Matter organizer Dawn Modkins.

"It's important when we protest is to send a statement to the government. But it's also to educate those who are driving by. And what better place than on a freeway in Los Angeles," said Black Lives Matter organizer Pete White.

While some folks support the cause, they disagree with the tactics.

"I disagree with the tactics because they are endangering a lot of people. I'm concerning about the kids that might be in the back seat or the young adults marching across. There's danger." Rocko Ortega said.

"This is not a way to do it on the 405 just before the holiday, unacceptable I think. There should be another way to do it," said James Pinto.

A similar demonstration also took place Wednesday in Minnesota, where hundreds of members of Black Lives Matter gathered at the Mall of America then moved to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The protest briefly blocked access to a terminal at the airport, and 15 people were arrested.

Inglewood and Minneapolis are among six U.S cities in which the group held protests on Wednesday, which it called "Black Xmas" and a national day of action.

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