PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Two people are facing charges after police said they climbed up the arches of the Roberto Clemente Bridge. It forced the bridge to be closed for most of the morning.
According to Pittsburgh Public Safety, about 15 protesters closed the Roberto Clemente Bridge around 8:30 Sunday morning. A man and a woman climbed the arches to tie a banner to the bridge.
24-year old William Howison, 24 and 28-year old Chelsea Lefever are expected to face charges.
“They are expected to face charges. What those charges are is unknown,” Pittsburgh Public Safety Assistant Spokesperson Maurice Matthews said.
According to protesters, the banner was going to say “Black Trans Lives Matter”, call for shutting down the Berks Family Residential Center, which is an ICE detention facility in eastern Pennsylvania, and closing the Allegheny County Jail.
“At the very least it’s inhumane. It is torturous. People should absolutely be released,” Christina Castiloo with Sisters Pittsburgh said.
Protesters wanted the banner to be unveiled when a pride march from Freedom Corner was expected to cross the bridge en route to the North Side.
“What we believe is when you center Black trans people, and you fight for the liberation of Black trans people, you are fighting for the liberation of all black people. All brown people,” Castiloo said.
“The Freedom Corner march was going to come down this way but that came to a halt once fire, police, and ems arrived,” Matthews said.
Fire crews cut the line the two protesters tried to use for the banner.
Then they refused to come down while they were about 50 feet above the street.
“Officers were in communication the whole time,” Matthews said.
Around 11:30, the pair rappelled down and were arrested by police.
After the arrests, police and fire crews stayed on the bridge to check for any damage. The bridge opened not too long later.