A woman protester in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who stood her ground over the weekend and refused to move even as she was rushed by several officers and then arrested, has become a viral sensation after a news photographer captured a photo of the dramatic moment. The photo, which shows a woman standing defiantly but peacefully amid protests in the wake of multiple racially-charged and deadly police shootings last week was captured by Jonathan Bachman, a freelance photographer covering the protest for Reuters and it has been hailed as “iconic” and “legendary” since making a splash on social media. Some have even compared the image to the famous shot of a young student staring down military tanks at Tiananmen Square in 1989.
The woman seen in the photo has been identified in numerous reports as Ieshia Evans, a 28-year-old nurse from New York and the mother of a 5-year-old boy. She was one of more than 100 protesters arrested on Saturday as police tried to clear a roadway where demonstrations were taking place.
Evans was reportedly detained for about 24 hours, but after her release posted a message on Facebook, according to reports, saying, “I just need you people to know. I appreciate the well wishes and love, but this is the work of God. I am a vessel! Glory to the most high! I’m glad I’m alive and safe. And that there were no casualties that I have witnessed first hand.” The Daily Mail reported that a friend of Evans said the woman traveled from New York to Baton Rouge to protest the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling because she ‘wanted a better future for her 5-year-old son.”
Bachman, the 31-year-old photographer who captured the shot, said he knew the minute he snapped it that it was powerful and made it a priority to quickly transmit it to the editors at Reuters. “That was the first image I transferred [to Reuters] because I knew it was going to be an important photo,” he told BuzzFeed News. “You can take images of plenty of people getting arrested, but I think this one speaks more to the movement and what the demonstrators are trying to accomplish here in Baton Rouge,” he said, adding, “she was there, she wasn’t resisting, and she had every intention of not moving.”