By Beth Germano, WBZ-TVBy Beth Germano

BOSTON (CBS) – Keri Chisholm had no idea what was happening when several people suddenly ran onto the highway in front of her car on I-93 in Medford. “They came out screaming ‘black lives matter’ then I understood,” said the 23 year old who was commuting to UMass Boston for a morning class.

Related: I-93 Protesters Identified

She came to a screeching halt along with other drivers as the protesters, she says, were nearly hit. “People in front of me swerved to get out of the way, and they were going more than 40 miles an hour. “A man came out holding up his hands to get cars to slow down,” she said.

Photo Gallery: Protesters Shut Down I-93

A human chain shut down the highway as protesters connected their arms through PVC piping. She grabbed her cell phone as her commute turned to an hour plus, watching state troopers try to clear them.

Protesters on I-93 in Medford. (Photo from Keri Chisolm)

Protesters on I-93 in Medford. (Photo from Keri Chisolm)

“Some were fighting back for the most part they realized they kind of lost,” she said.

The protesters were hoping to win big on message, staging a simultaneous protest on the Expressway in Milton where it took three hours to remove some who had chained their arms through 55 gallon cement barrels, infuriating public safety officials.

“This is not only immature, this is not only irresponsible, but it’s reckless and endangering people’s lives,” said State Police Colonel Timothy Alben.

Protests on I-93 in Medford (WBZ-TV)

Protests on I-93 in Medford (WBZ-TV)

The group says it was protesting police and state violence against black citizens. Twenty-nine protesters were hauled into court on a laundry list of charges including resisting arrest, trespassing and disorderly conduct.

As commutes tripled, sympathy waned for their cause. “I think people will look and say I don’t want to support a cause that puts people’s lives in jeopardy,” said Alex Aferiat who was stuck in traffic for more than two hours.

Keri Chisholm says she watched police call for backup and for firefighters to help saw through the PVC piping and release the chain of protesters in Medford.

“People on either side of the highway were yelling and screaming,” Chisolm said. “Everyone was angry.”

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Beth Germano

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