Supporters of slain Missouri teen Michael Brown launched a peaceful protest during a St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performance at Powell Symphony Hall.
The October 4 performance was interrupted suddenly when protestors located in the upper balcony unveiled banners — three in total — with written messages and artwork drawn in remembrance of the Ferguson youth fatally shot by a St. Louis police officer. The protest, launched during a performance of “Requiem” by Brahms, caused a minor delay in the orchestra’s performance. Some members of the protest also stood up in the lower seating sections, singing a tribute—set to the original Brahms’ piece—called “A Requiem for Mike Brown,” according to the title of one YouTube video of the event.
“Justice for Mike Brown,” the protestors can be heard singing in the video taken by one of the audience members, as the video pans towards the balcony, revealing two of the banners. The first is shown saying “Racism Lives Here,” with an arrow pointing to what appears to be a sketch of a city skyline; the second is a sketch of Michael Brown’s face, with “Requiem for Mike Brown” written, along with the dates 1996 – 2014, the years of the 18-year old Brown’s birth and death. The refrain of the protestors’ song was “which side are you on?”
The video later pans to the third banner, which also features a drawing of the young man’s face, as well as the dates.
A significant portion of the audience can be heard clapping, with some even cheering as the protestors sing the song for approximately a minute and a half. Some audience members however, can be seen with looks of shock and confusion at the sudden and surprising interruption.
After finishing their song, the protestors can be heard chanting “Black lives matter,” before many of them head towards the exits. No arrests were made in the protest, as the demonstrators left of their own accord in peaceful fashion.
The protest follows the continued national controversy surrounding the death of Michael Brown on August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.