Hunger strikers for Breonna Taylor end protest after 25 days
(USA Today) - After going nearly one month without food, the remaining hunger strikers seeking action against the Louisville Metro Police officers who fired their weapons the night Breonna Taylor was killed have ended their protest.
Ari Maybe and Tabin Ibershoff, who were among the four protesters who started the hunger strike on July 20, announced Friday that they would no longer abstain from caloric intake but would continue to show their support for the ongoing demonstrations in other ways.
"This city clearly needs every single one of us on the front lines fighting for justice," Ibershoff said at a press conference in Louisville.
Ibershoff and Maybe were initially joined in the protest by Vincent Gonzalez and Amira Bryant. At a Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression conference on Sunday, Gonzalez said he had ended his strike after 15 days and Bryant planned to end hers that day in recognition of Black August, which honors Black people who have been killed fighting injustice throughout history.
When they announced plans for their protest in mid July, the hunger strikers said they would abstain from caloric intake until the three LMPD officers involved in Taylor's death were fired from the department and stripped of their pensions. That hasn't happened, but Maybe said their 25-day demonstration, which was livestreamed around the clock on the group's Hunger Strikers for Breonna Facebook page, brought more national attention to the ongoing case.
Maybe said she lost 19 pounds over the course of the 25 days without food. Speaking at Friday's press conference, she said the group had not been contacted once by city officials throughout the strike and that LMPD's announcement Sunday that protests in the streets would no longer be allowed motivated the two remaining hunger strikers to help the movement in a new way.
"The decision to end this strike has not been an easy one," Maybe said. "… We realize this movement needs us. LMPD recently attempting to rob the people of the right to protest motivated us to sacrifice this action and strengthen ourselves for the fight."