Police ready for Main Ave. zombie takeover

22 arrests made during event 2 years ago

The Durango Police Department said it is prepared to deal with another year of the “zombie march,” an unlawful procession on the traffic lanes of Main Avenue.

“We have information that it is happening again this year, and we’re preparing for it,” Lt. Ray Shupe, spokesman with the department, said Monday.

This would mark the sixth year in a row in which hundreds of Halloween revelers take to the street at 11:55 p.m. Oct. 31 and walk up and down Main Avenue in downtown Durango.

Promotional language says it is a “peaceful, nonviolent and fun-oriented event.”

“While the event is unpermitted, we can remain safest from police repression simply by remaining peaceful, celebratory and fun-loving,” an online description reads. “Please consider the safety of everyone present when choosing your words and actions. Please treat the space and community as if it were your own, as well as the property and objects you encounter within it. Together, we are unstoppable!”

The event made news two years ago, when about 1,500 people walked up and down Main Avenue chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets?” Police eventually ordered the procession to disperse, but about 75 people sat down in the middle of the road and refused to move.

Some threw bottles at police, moved downtown benches, tipped over trash cans and tried to tip over a car.

Officers wearing riot gear used batons and pepper spray to regain control. They made 22 arrests.

Last year, police allowed 800 to 900 people to make several laps up and down Main Avenue between College Drive and 12th Street before politely asking participants to move onto the sidewalk, which nearly everyone did.

Three people were arrested: two for fighting and one for possession of cocaine.

Shupe said the zombie march is unsanctioned and unlawful, and participants are subject to arrest if they block the street.

He asks people to be respectful and stay on the sidewalk, especially when asked to do so by a police officer.

The department will beef up patrols for the event.

“It’s what we call a high-impact holiday, and it’s not unique to Durango,” Shupe said. “We always hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”

shane@durangoherald.com

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