SIOUX FALLS (AP) – Police in Sioux Falls used smoke bombs to try to disperse hundreds of people protesting the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Police Chief Jon Thum said there were a “couple of arrests” during the demonstration Wednesday night in downtown Sioux Falls. Thum said those arrested could face a charge of failing to disperse and other misdemeanors.
Police blocked traffic on one street to accommodate protesters, some who chanted “my body, my choice.”
Officers later used a loudspeaker to try to get demonstrators to move out of the street and onto sidewalks. Police in riot helmets held batons as they approached demonstrators and launched smoke bombs into the crowd.
That’s when arrests were made. At least two people who were detained with zip tie restraints, the Argus Leader reported. Thum said no tear gas was deployed.
The demonstration, organized through word of mouth and social media, had no clear organizer and that groups promoting the event had different messaging and a lack of a clear plan where they were going, officials said.
“Throughout this time as I’m watching people move through the streets, my No. 1 concern is people running them over or cars getting involved or other things,” Thum said. “We have a really tough time protecting people exercising their First Amendment Rights when we don’t know what their plan is.”
By 10:30 p.m., crowds had moved throughout downtown and began to separate.