“Hands-up”…chanted and displayed…has become the major form of protest in Ferguson.
The hands-up — a sign of surrender and submission black men and boys here say they learn early on when dealing with police — has been transformed into a different kind of weapon.
Wesley Lowerly includes his tweeted photos and videos in his Washington Post article on protesting near Ferguson:
At one point, the racially diverse group of protesters sat down in a straight line with their hands above their heads chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot!”
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 12, 2014
Pearce’s article also considers the different ways hands up is seen and used in protest:
Just as “Ferguson” has transformed into instantly recognizable shorthand signifying the latest juncture in an unsettled national conversation over race and policing, the “hands up, don’t shoot” chant has joined a long line of activist slogans that crystallize the heart of a community’s moral outrage: Hell no, we won’t go. No justice, no peace….
The black teens and twentysomethings who took to the streets in Ferguson on Monday night did the same, lifting their hands to the glaring lights of a police chopper and the line of police vehicles — with officers in front — trying to keep them at bay.
But they also used the hands-up sign as a tool for provocation, drifting toward the police with their arms up, as if daring for a response. They mixed the hands-up chant with a taunting, obscene anti-police chant. The police eventually drove the group away with tear gas.
In Clayton the following morning, the hands-up protest was deployed again to confront police officers, but with more peaceful intentions. For several black men who looked on as a line of demonstrators held up their hands, some while on their knees, the symbol had powerful and even painful personal resonance.