Protesters with Occupy ICE showed up at the Heyburn Building in downtown Louisville Thursday morning, blocking elevators to immigration court. The group formed weeks ago in protest of federal immigration enforcement and family separations.
According to group organizers, Louisville Metro Police arrested at least nine Occupy ICE protesters Thursday.
At about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, protesters began blocking elevators to the 11th floor of the Heyburn building, where immigration court is located. Video and photos posted on social media showed protesters linking arms with what appeared to be homemade braces made of PVC pipe and chains. More than 30 LMPD officers arrived and barred reporters from entering the building. According to an immigration court receptionist, cases scheduled for Thursday morning were “reset” to take place a different day.
Louisville Black Lives Matter Organizer Chanelle Helm said at least nine protesters were arrested. Helm said Occupy ICE would release a statement later in the day.
LMPD declined to comment on whether protesters were arrested, although officers left the Heyburn building shortly after a police prisoner transport van exited the building’s parking lot.
Occupy ICE first organized weeks ago to protest federal immigration policies, erecting a camp on the sidewalk in front of the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in downtown Louisville. LMPD later said the camp was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act which requires ample sidewalk space. Police seized unclaimed items they considered to be abandoned and protesters disassembled the rest of the camp that day.
Another camp was reportedly built in a park near Sixth and Chestnut streets Thursday morning.
Police spokeswoman Jessie Halladay said the department will issue a statement later Thursday, adding the protest at Heyburn “seems to be resolved for the moment.”