Protesters Disrupt St. Louis Orchestra Performance With a Requiem for Mike Brown
Just as the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra was set to perform Saturday night, Mike Brown protesters in the audience broke out in song, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The interruption, which was captured on cellphone video, shows two audience members in the middle aisle on the main floor of Powell Symphony Hall singing, "Which Side Are You On?" Other audience members throughout the hall joined them in harmony. From the main balcony, several protesters unfurled banners, one of which listed Brown's birthdate and the date he died after being shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson.
Some of the audience members applauded during the minute-and-a-half interruption, as well as some of the orchestra and chorus members. Thirty-six seconds into the video below, you can clearly hear someone say, "He's a thug." It is not clear who exactly made the remark, but the person holding the camera focused on a male audience member and asked him to repeat what he said. He simply smiles after being asked to repeat himself several times.
As the protesters quietly made their way out of the concert hall, they began chanting, "Black lives matter."
They also left red paper hearts in the hall that read, in part: “Requiem for Mike Brown.” No arrests were made and conductor Markus Stenz quickly resumed the concert. All of the protesters had bought tickets to attend the performance.
One of the protesters, Derek Laney, told the Washington Post that they were surprised by the reaction.
“It went to show that there are people among that crowd who think that the protests matter and that it’s not okay to just kill black children, and they’d be receptive to hear that message,” Laney said. “It was a perfect moment. As we left, people were smiling and reaching out to shake our hands.”
Officer Darren Wilson has not been charged in connection with Brown's death. The teen's parents called for Wilson's arrest on Sunday. Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., was reportedly dressed in a t-shirt with a photo of Wilson below the text “Arrest Him Now.”