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Roadscapes Wednesday: Downtown Connector Protest / Krog Street Tunnel Protest


On this Roadscapes Wednesday post, on a Thursday, I am talking about two big things that happened in the Atlanta Metro on Wednesday evening.  And these were both some big things!  First, let’s talk about why traffic on the I-75/I-85 Downtown Connector was a nightmare.  It was not because of a major wreck, it was because people were on the Interstate.

The people on the Downtown Connector were protesters, and they felt like blocking traffic in Atlanta would get their point across about the Ferguson shootings.  Here is a video from the YouTube channel Sean C who was in the right place in the right time.  The driver got to see the protesters form their human shield on the Interstate.  The video does show some profanity on the banners.

The protesters were not only protesting against the events in Ferguson, Missouri, they were also protesting other events in what they are calling “police brutality.”  The protest is a part of a national week of resistance to mass incarceration and police brutality.   And the police becoming more militarized.  So, blocking one of America’s busiest highways to get a point across about the police being too powerful is what these protesters wanted?  Some people on social media have said if they were in that traffic blockade, they would have run over the protesters.

Yeah, you have a right to free speech in America, it’s our first amendment rights.  But going onto a major Interstate to get your point across was not only dangerous, but wrong!  The police was swarming all over the protesters on the Interstate, and I wish the police would have arrested all of the protesters who were trespassing on GDOT property.  The protesters were with “Black Lives Matter.”  Here are a few tweets from them at the protest.

If that was the only crazy thing happening in the Atlanta Metro on Wednesday evening, you were wrong!  Around 10 pm, another Atlanta area infrastructure landmark was being protested on.  This was at the Krog Street tunnel.  The tunnel is famous for the graffiti and artwork painted on the walls all throughout the tunnel.  Well, if you go to the Krog Street tunnel now, you will only find gray painted walls.

You see, there was a planned event this weekend in the Krog Street tunnel called the  Krog Masquerade.  The event would host 2000 people in a Halloween style event.  Everyone would be required to wear a mask, and tickets were $50 to $100 a ticket!  The folks who do the artwork inside the tunnel did not like the idea of people paying to see their artwork.  In their words, the street art should be free, and people should not make money on the artwork, and it should not be privatized.  So, to get their point across, around 100 people showed up in the tunnel at 10 pm, and within one hour, the entire tunnel got re-painted.

The people whitewashing the tunnel did not want their decor as part of their event, and they made sure the Krog Masquerade would go on without the famous artwork.  As of this writing, there has been no update from the folks putting on the Krog Masquerade.  But the artists accomplished something, that no public artwork is for sale.  Yes, soon there will be more artwork painted on the Krog Street tunnel walls.  The people living in the  Cabbagetown neighborhood not only protested public art being made profitable so some people can make money off of it.  They were also protesting the tunnel being blocked to traffic, the shady practices of the organizers, and the neighborhoods not getting any share of any profit made from the masquerade.

So word to anyone wanting to use public art to make money, don’t do it!  Or people will do anything possible to make sure your event is harmed!  Two big events in one evening in Atlanta Metro, it was some crazy stuff!

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