Black Lives Matter activists protest at Cambridge City Hall for affordable housing

Source: AP
Source: AP

"Brick by brick, wall by wall, racist systems have to fall" were among the slogans four Black Lives Matter protesters chanted Wednesday morning, after chaining themselves to the front door of Cambridge City Hall in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

The protesters are asking the city to prioritize building affordable housing, the Boston Globe reported. Police spokesman Jeremy Warnick told the Globe that police would remain on the scene until the demonstration ended and that city hall employees would use an alternate entrance to the building. 

At around 8:30 a.m. Eastern, the Black Lives Matter Cambridge chapter put out a call for on Facebook additional supporters to help them "shut down" city hall. According to the Globe, two female protesters had chained themselves to each other by the neck, using U-shaped bike locks. The women have used other bike locks to connect themselves to the city hall door handles.  

The women were also connected by the arms to two other male protesters. The men's arms were locked in plastic tubing and wrapped with red duct tape, the Globe reported.

On Facebook, the BLM chapter also out a set of affordable housing demands:

1. Inclusionary housing program
We demand that the City Council require market­rate residential developers, of more than nine units, make at least 25% of the units affordable.
2. MIT housing
We demand MIT is given a permit that allows them to build housing for it's 5,500 graduate and postgraduate students who live off campus. Housing for those MIT students opens up more units for existing housing and provide family­size units.
3. Use free land
We demand that free land, such as parking lots and other city properties, are not sold to private developers but are used to build affordable housing and develop public spaces.
4. Establish a rent to own program
We demand that a Rent to Own program is established in Cambridge. We believe that there needs to be a better and more defined pathway to homeownership for low income Cantabrigians.

As of 9:40 a.m. Eastern, the protest was continuing at city hall.

This is a developing story and it will be updated.

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Aaron Morrison

Aaron is a Senior Staff Writer for The Movement at Mic. He covers the intersection of race, justice, politics, diversity and civil rights. He has previously written for IB TImes, Miami Herald, The Bergen Record of New Jersey and the Associated Press. Send tips to aaron@mic.com.

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