The image of a black woman’s act of resistance in front of law enforcement in Louisiana has become a new symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The image of the woman in a gown, identified as Ieshia Evans, 28, is reminiscent of other resistance photos like that of a lone protester standing in front of tanks in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 and the 1967 photo of a man putting a flower into the barrel of a soldier’s gun in front of the Pentagon.
Reuters photographer Jonathan Bachman snapped the picture Saturday during a demonstration in Baton Rouge, less than a week after police were recorded shooting and killing a black man there.
Bachman told The Atlantic: “It happened quickly, but I could tell that she wasn’t going to move, and it seemed like she was making her stand. To me it seemed like: 'You’re going to have to come and get me.' And I just thought it seemed like this was a good place to get in position and make an image, just because she was there in her dress and you have two police officers in full riot gear. It wasn’t very violent. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t resist, and the police didn’t drag her off.”
The photograph captures two police in riot gear running to Evans, who is standing still in the middle of the road after instructions were given to clear the roadway.
Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman L'Jean McKneely told CNN: “Everyone was given proper instructions and a certain amount of time to clear the roadway. If they did not, then they were arrested.”
According to reports, the woman was released from police custody on Sunday evening.
More than 100 protesters were arrested by Baton Rouge authorities on Saturday night, including prominent Black Lives Matter organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson. He was also released Sunday after being arrested on the side of Airline Highway.
He was charged with “simple obstruction of highway commerce.”
He told reporters after he was released: “I remain disappointed in the Baton Rouge police who continued to provoke protesters who were peacefully protesting.”
Over the weekend, protestors shut major highways in Los Angeles and Memphis. In St. Paul, Minnesota, 21 cops were injured. One officer suffered a broken vertebrae when someone dropped a concrete block on his head.
Protestors also tossed fireworks and Molotov cocktails at police.
On Sunday, President Obama warned that continued violence against police could smear the Black Lives Matter campaign.
The president said at a news conference in Madrid, Spain: “I want to say to say to everyone concerned about ... racial bias in the criminal justice system that maintaining a truthful, serious and respectful tone is going to help mobilize American society to bring about real change.”
He added: “Whenever those of us who are concerned about failures of the criminal justice system attack police, you are doing a disservice to the cause.”