UPDATED at 6 a.m. Thursday with protesters, tents remaining overnight.
ST. LOUIS — A group of protesters, led by one whose name and address was read aloud by Mayor Lyda Krewson during a Facebook Live briefing, announced plans Wednesday to stay in front of City Hall until Krewson resigns.
Late Wednesday night, about 150 people remained outside City Hall. Police initially told protesters they needed to disperse by 10 p.m., but as of 11:20 p.m. police had made no move to clear the crowd.
At sunrise Thursday, it was evident protesters had stayed put through the night. About 20 tents and one hammock remained on the grounds of City Hall. Some protesters were still sleeping while others were blowing bubbles and listening to music on the building's steps.
The mayor has said she isn't resigning.
The evening demonstration followed a march earlier in the day, led by local organizing group Expect US, demanding reparations outside the Old Courthouse downtown.
The demonstration outside City Hall was led by Milkayla Allen, 23, of St. Louis.
Krewson on June 26 read the name and address of Allen and others who signed a worksheet in support of defunding police and reallocating resources. They handed Krewson the sheet at a rally outside City Hall in favor of closing the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, also known as the workhouse.
The Facebook video was deleted a few hours later and a petition for Krewson to resign had garnered more than 60,000 signatures as of Wednesday.
“Of course, you could say that all of our addresses are public record, but at the end of the day Mayor Lyda Krewson holds a very specific type of power,” Allen said. “She’s aware of the power that she holds, and so her getting on Facebook Live was a gross misuse of power. She gave ammo to whoever wanted to act upon it.”
Milkayla Allen calling for the resignation of @LydaKrewson. Allen came forward today, saying they are one of the people whose names and addresses were read by the mayor a few weeks ago during a Facebook Live. Allen says they are not leaving City Hall until the mayor resigns. pic.twitter.com/MZfddQrsjh— Taylor Harris (@ladytiamoyo) July 9, 2020
In recent weeks protesters have gathered outside Krewson’s home to call for her resignation. Police have been stationed near her home during the protests and Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards was seen one day escorting her home. Officers also set up barriers in front of Krewson’s home.
Protesters on Wednesday noted the same protection was not afforded to Allen and the others whose names and addresses were read, and some, including Allen, have not been home since Krewson’s Facebook briefing posted last month.
Allen, who is Black, also noted protesters were concerned that the mayor read the names and addresses of three Black women, even though the majority of people at the rally to close the workhouse that day were not Black.
”Mayor Krewson has apologized and is not resigning,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said Wednesday.
About 200 protesters gathered on the steps of the Old Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon to advocate for reparations, a common social justice call for descendants of slaves in the U.S.
People chanted “This is what a family looks like” and swayed to a drum beat, toting water bottles and Black Lives Matter signs.
State Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, a St. Louis Democrat, emphasized to the crowd that reparations don’t simply refer to a check handed to Black people.
“Defund the police,” Aldridge said, “We want community centers, mental health centers — even though we don’t like to talk about it, our communities need it the most.”
Ohun Ashe, an activist with Expect US, said the lack of resources and poverty in Black neighborhoods is a part of systemic oppression.
“Black on Black crime wouldn’t exist if an attack on Black communities didn’t exist,” she said to cheers from the crowd.
The group marched down Market Street, chanting, and then blocked off the intersection of Market Street and Tucker Boulevard, just outside city hall.
Chris and Danielle Robinson, who are Black, saw the protest and decided to join. Chris Robinson held their 7-month-old son, Chris Robinson Jr., in his arms, and pointed to him when asked why they decided to join the march.