About 50 protesters marched through the streets of the Central West End, briefly shutting down Euclid on Sunday afternoon.
“I saw people marching down, carrying machine guns, machetes and chanting black power,” said Stephon White, bystander.
The protest began around 3:30 p.m. with individuals walking south on Taylor Avenue to Lindell Boulevard before going north on Euclid to Page where the group disbanded.
“It wasn’t really a surprise to me because like I’ve seen it a billion times but I feel like for other people on the outside looking in it was definitely a wake up that it is real out here what’s going on,” said White.
A similar scene played out in north Saint Louis. It is believed the murder of Darren Seals, a noted Black Lives Matter activist, was a driving factor in the timing of the protests. Many posts on social media about the protest also included the hashtag, #JusticeForDarrenSeals.
The marchers were walking in the street, briefly tying up traffic on Euclid. There were no incidents or arrests.
Several of the individuals identified themselves as members of the Black Panther Party. With rifles in plain sight, the big question is if it is legal.
“If you have a conceal carry license you fall under Chapter 571, which will then allow you to briefly open carry a firearm,” said Matt Fry, criminal defense attorney.
Fry says the key word there is briefly.
“It is pushing the law because the statue is clear it is briefly and it has to be a concealable fire arm. So the definition of firearm can apply to rifles and assault rifles, but when you can’t conceal it at any point, then you shouldn’t be able to take it out so that’s problematic,” said Fry.